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Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works

Digital Iron Furnace Research Library
The 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania

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The Iron Furnaces of Clarion County Pennsylvania
Elk Furnace & Iron Works
(Smearkase Furnace)
(Soapfat Furnace)

Shippenville Station,
Elk Twp.,
Clarion County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Pennsylvania Iron Furnace Source Book
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
A Publication of the 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
Updated Nov. 2, 2002

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Elk Furnace & Iron Works:  Located on Deer Creek, north of Shippenville, Shippenville Station, Elk Twp., Clarion County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Date Built: ca. 1842
Date Out-of-Blast: ca.1855

Other names Elk Furnace was known by:
Fetzer's Furnace;
Fitzhugh's Furnace;

Kahl & Call's Furnace;
Smearkase Furnace;
Soapfat Furnace

Elk Furnace & Iron Works:
A Stone Blast Furnace & Iron Works
Wm. B. Fitzhugh (ca.1846)
William B. Fetzer (ca.1849)
Kahl & Call (ca.1850)

Short History of Elk 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
Elk Furnace     1        1842   1,000 Tons
        Owners  Post Office      Kind of ore used  No. of Men &
Boys Employed
 No. of horses &
mules Employed
W.B. Fetzer  Shippenville Argillareous Carbonate       60         34
No. Tuyeres
 Kind of
Power used
Kind of Metal Made  Largest product Actual Product
in 1849
   1 7 feet 6 Inches 32 feet Water Close Gray Iron    800 Tons   500Tons

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

From the "Iron Manufactuere's Guide", 1859.
Elk Cold-blast Charcoal Furnace, five and a half miles west of Clarion, last leased by Kehl & Call, stands also on Deer Creek, one mile higher up than Derr Creek Furnace, was built in 1842, 7 by 22 feet, and abandoned in the fall of 1955 for want of ore and fuel, having made about 400 tons per annum, out of buhrstone ore. (Lesley,1859:101).

From "History of Clarion County" 1887.
Elk ("Smearkase") Furnace, 1842, a small stack on Deer Creek one mile above Deer Creek furnace. First operator, William B. Fetzer, later, Kahl and Call; bosh, seven feet, height, twenty-two feet; production, 1845, about 700 tons; 1854, 400 tons; abandoned in the fall of 1855. At the time of its abandonment its timber was exhausted.  (Davis,1887:117)

Elk Furnace.  Also called Smearkase.  Located on Deer creek, 1 mile above Deer Creek Furnace.  Height 22 feet (small Stack), 7 foot  bosh.  Production was 1,000 tons in 1847, about 700 tons in 1845; only 400 tons in 1854.  Abandoned Fall, 1855, when timber was exhausted.(Caldwell,1877:  )

Elk Furnace (Soapfat Furnace) The furnace was built in 1842 on Deer Creek about 3/4 mile above Deer Creek Furnace.  In 1850 it was owned by W.B.Fetzer.  It was a cold blast, one tuyere furnace with a 7 1/2 foot bosh and was powered by water.  It went out of blast in 1855. (Sharp & Thomas,1966:33)

From Shippenville, Clarion Co. go west on US Rt.322 to Shippenville Station, just before the bridge over Deer Creek  and the old R.R. crossing turn right (north) on Soapfat Rd. (T-410).  Follow soapfat Rd. about 3/4 mile to a pipe line crossing that is cleared.  Follow the pipe line clearing to the left, downhill about half way to the Deer Creek.  Turn left into the woods about 100 feet.

Elk Furnace stack is now merely a pile of stones (ca.1966), overgrown with weeds and brush.  The creek banks and area is covered with iron slag.
(Sharp & Thomas,1966:33)

(It is recommended that you obtain and use the "Pennsylvania Atlas & Gazetteer" by DeLorne Mapping, as your map source in finding the Clarion County Iron Furnaces.)
The Elk 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.
(Map courtesy of the U.S.G.S. Topographic Survey, Washington, D.C.)

Construction Data:  Elk Furnace, Cold Blast Charcoal Furnace,  water powered blast, one tuyere furnace, with a 7 1/2 foot bosh.

Bibliographical Sources:  This section under construction.                                                    

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

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