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Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works

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The 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
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The Iron Furnaces of Clarion County Pennsylvania
Clarion Furnace & Iron Works
Penns Mills,
Paint Twp.,
Clarion County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Pennsylvania Iron Furnace Sourcebook
Clarion County Iron Furnaces

A Tribute to the Iron Masters and Iron Workers
that built and keep in-blast
the old Stone Blast Furnaces of Pennsylvania.

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Archaeologist & Web Master,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Advisor.

Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works
A Publication of the 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
Updated Nov. 2, 2002

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Clarion Furnace & Iron Works:  Located just above the mouth of Toby Creek, and Clarion River, Penns Mills, Paint Twp., Clarion County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Date Built: ca. 1828
Date Out-of-Blast: ca.1852

Other names Clarion Furnace was known by:
Bear & Myers Furnace;
Clarion Furnace, Venango Co. (ca.1833)
Meyer's Furnace;

Myer's Furnace;
Hetherington's Furnace.

ClarionFurnace & Iron Works:
A Stone Blast Furnace & Iron Works
Bear & Myers Company (Henry Bear & Christian Myers) (ca.1828- ? )
C. Meyers & Company
Christian Myers
J. Nelson Hetherington (ca.1851-1852)

Short History of Clarion Furnace:  
Documents Relating to the Manufacture of Iron in Pennsylvania, 1850
A Detailed Statement of all the Charcoal Cold Blast Furnaces in Western Pennsylvania in the year 1850
Published on behalf of the Convention of Iron Masters,
Which met in Philadelphia, on the Twentierth of December, 1849
Philadelphia: Published by the General Committee. 1850
Name of Works date of Sheriff's
sale or failure
in-blast 1849
out-of-blast 1849
date of construction Capacity in Tons
Clarion Furnace          1        1828   1,400 Tons
        Owners  Post Office      Kind of ore used  No. of Men &
Boys Employed
 No. of horses &
mules Employed
C. Meyers Clarion Argillareous Carbonate       70         45
No. Tuyeres
 Kind of
Power used
Kind of Metal Made  Largest product Actual Product
in 1849
  1  9 feet  32 feet   Water Close Gray Iron    1,400 Tons   600Tons

                                                                                                           (Iron Masters Association,1850:n.p.)

From "Iron Manufacturer's Guide," 1859.
Clarion Cold-blast Charcoal Furnace,  one and a quarter miles north west of Clarion, owned by Nelson Hetherington of Clarion, stands on the Clarion River, wasbiuilt in 1848, 8 feet across the bosh by 30 high, and had been abandoned for want of ore, timber being abundant, since 1850. (Lesley,1859:102)

From "History of Clarion County" 1887.
Clarion Furnace.  In 1828 Christian Myers, of Lancaster, then half owner of the Bear-Carpenter-Miller purpart of the Lancaster Company's purchase, including a slice of Clarion and the greater part of Paint townships; and his partner, Henry Bear, came to this county with the intention of developing the mineral resources of their property. The natives were very distrustful of the strangers, and having no credit with the farmers, they were sometimes reduced to desperate straits for provisions. Judge Myers wrote home, with a melancholy account of the fare: "Bones cooked for soup, and then ground up and cooked over." After many difficulties Clarion furnace was erected on Little Toby, near its mouth; the spot is now known as Penn Mills. This was the pioneer stack of Clarion county.

Clarion Furnace, cold blast, on the Clarion River, a little west of the mouth of Little Toby, built in 1829; thirty feet high by eight feet bosh; owners Henry Bear and Christian Myers, afterward Myers alone, who in 185l assigned to Nelson Hetherington. Produced about 1,300 tons a year. Abandoned in 1852 on account of difficulty of reaching ore and financial considerations.

The pigs were transported to Pittsburgh in flat boats, sided up; they were somewhat smaller than the present boats, and generally held from seventy-five to one hundred tons. The lower bridge at Clarion was one of the chief loading places; here Clarion, Lucinda, Shippenville, Washington, and Martha furnaces brought their iron for transportation; it was the scene of much life and bustle, for often one hundred men were at work together, loading the boats; those were halcyon days! (Davis,1887:113,116)

Clarion Furnace. Located on the Clarion River, just west of the mouth of Little Toby Creek.  Stack 30 feet high; base 24 feet square, 8 foot bosh.  Cold Blast.  Erected 1828 by Henry Bear and Christian Myers.  Designed by Bear.  Myers became sole owner until 1851, after which he assigned to Nelson Hetherington, his son-in-law. Closed 1852 because of financial problems.  Production 1847 1,200 tons. (Caldwell,1877:  )

From: "A Guide to the Old Stone Blast Furnace in Western Pennsylvania" 1966.
Clarion Furnace.  Was built on Toby Creek about 1/2 mile from the Clarion River in 1828 and was abandoned in 1852.  It was the first furnace constructed in Clarion County. Christian Meyers was the builder and his agent, Henry Bear,was an expert ironmaster.  The stack was 32 feet high with an 8 foot bosh.  All other furnaces in the county were patterned after the Clarion Furnace.  It was a cold blast, water powered charcoal furnace with one tuyere. (Sharp & Thomas,1966:32)

To visit the site of Clarion Furnace. From Clarion take PA SR1005 north, cross the bridge over the Clarion River, just above the mouth of Toby Creek and go north on PA SR1005 towards the Village of Miola. About .25 mi past the Clarion River, you will enter State Game Lands No. 72, just past this a dirt road T-576 turns off to the left, down the hill towards Toby Creek.  Follow T-576 to the bridge over Toby Creek.  Clarion Furnace was about 100 feet upstream, on the west side of Toby Creek, just below the mouth of Rapp Run, a tributery of Toby Creek.

The site of Clarion Furnace is located in State Game Lands No. 72.  Nothing remains of the Clarion Furnace stack, except a few stones and a small amount of slag on the creek bank.
(Sharp & Thomas,1966:32)

The site of Clarion Furnace probably contains archaeological remains that are not visible.  Flooding from the Clarion River and strip mining waste more than likely has slited over many of the remains.

(It is recommended that you obtain and use the "Pennsylvania Atlas & Gazetteer" by DeLorne Mapping, as you map source in finding the Clarion County Iron Furnaces.)
The Paint Township map is cropped from a 1/50,000 USGS Geological Survey Map of Clarion County dated 1986; based on 1/24,000 maps dated 1963 through 1969.
(Courtesy of the U.S.G.S. Topographic Survey, Washington, D.C.)

Clarion Furnace, Paint Township, Clarion Co.
1872 Map of Paint Township, Clarion, showing the location of Penns Mills and the settlement around the furnace location.
(from "Atlas of the County of Lawrence & The State of Pennsylvania,"  Published by G.M.Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, PA, ca.1872)

Bibliographical Sources:  This section under construction.                                                    

[no pictures are presently available for Clarion Furnace, Paint Township, Clarion Co., Pa.]
If you have pictures or know of where pictures of the furnace are located or additional information on Clarion Furnace, Clarion Co., please contact the Ironmaster

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