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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
Madison Furnace
Piney 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 & Iron Works
A Publication of the 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
Updated Nov. 3, 2002

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Madison Furnace & Iron Works: Located on Piney Creek, 2mi. from Clarion River, near the Village of Shamburg, Piney Twp., Clarion County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Date Built: ca.1836
Date Out-of-Blast: ca.1873

Other names Madison Furnace was known by:
Lyon, Shorb & Company Furnace;
Mathias & Company Furnace;
Mathiot, Miller & Company Furnace;

Shorb & Company Furnace.

Madison Furnace & Iron Works
A Stone Blast Furnace & Iron Works
Owners:  Mathiot, Miller & Company (ca.1836)
               Mathias & Company (ca.1836)
               Lyon, Shorb & Company (ca.1850 or earlier)
               Shorb & Company (ca.1845 or earlier)

Short History of Madison 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
Madison Furnace     1            1836   1,500 Tons
        Owners  Post Office      Kind of ore used  No. of Men &
Boys Employed
 No. of horses &
mules Employed
Lyon, Shorb & Company  Clarion Argillareous Carbonate &
Brown Hematite Ore
      75         40
No. Tuyeres
 Kind of
Power used
Kind of Metal Made  Largest product Actual Product
in 1849
   1 8 feet 6 Inches 35 feet Steam & Water Close Gray Iron 1,555 Tons   1,420 Tons

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

From "History of Clarion County" 1887.
Madison Furnace, 1836, steam cold blast, situate on Piney Creek, two miles from the Clarion; nine feet across the bosh; thirty-two feet high; owned originally by Mathiot, Miller & Co., bought by Lyon, Shorb & Co., managed by Thomas McCulloch, Samuel Barr, Calvin Rankin, and M. Conrad; produced, 1845, 1,000 tons; 1856, 2,500 tons of mill metal, out of argillaceous carbonate ores of the coal measures close by; in 1872, made 3,048 tons. Used chills; abandoned, 1873, in consequence of the panic of that year.

Piney Township  About 1842 Mathias & Co. built Madison furnace on Piney, a few miles above its mouth. Lyon, Shorb & Co. built Sligo furnace on Licking Creek in 1845. Soon after this they bought Madison from Mathias & Co. This firm made iron at Madison till a recent date, and also at Sligo till 1870.

Madison shipped its iron at Piney in boats, and Sligo shipped hers at Calensburg, loading their boats at Crary's dam.

The Sligo and Madison company was the only one to introduce "chills," i. e., iron moulds; all the other furnaces ran their metal into sand. 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! Beaver furnace and Madison loaded at Hahn's Ferry at the mouth of Piney;  (Davis,1887:114,115,116)

Madison Furnace.  Located on Piney Creek, 2 miles from the Clarion River.  Height 32 feet, 9 foot bosh.  Steam - cold blast.  Under Lyon, Shorb & Company ownership, managed by Thomas McCulloch, Samuel Barr, Calvin Rankin and M. Conrad.  Produced 1,000 tons in 1845 and 1847, only produced 2,500 tons of mill iron out of argillaceous carbonate ores of coal fields nearby in 1856.  Production in 1872 was 3,048 tons.  Used chills.  Abandoned 1873 as a result of economic panic. (Calwell,1877:   )

Madison Furnace.?  This furnace, built in 1836 on Piney Creek about 2 miles from the Clarion River, was a steam powered cold blast furnace with a 9 foot bosh and was 32 feet high.  It was abandoned in 1873in consequence of the panic of that year.  In 1850 it had been owned by Lyon, Shorn and Company.  (Sharp & Thomas,1966:36)

LOCATION: From Sligo, Clarion county, take PA Rt.68 north , approx. 1 1/2 miles, to its junction with PA SR2007, the road to Shamburg.  Follow SR2007 north to Piney, and the bridge over the Clarion River.  Before you cross the Clarion River bridge you will cross the bridge over Piney Creek, then, before you cross the Clarion River bridge turn right (east) on T-420, this road runs between this bridge and the bridge over the Clarion River.  A little more than a mile north-east on this road is an old bridge on a road to the right, crossing back over Piney Creek. Just past this bridge is an old railroad bridge over Piney Creek and a railroad tunnel. The furnace was located on the right side of this road, at the far end of the bridge and against the hillside.  A large slag dump is downstream along the creek.  The hillside was the charging bench, and has iron ore and charcoal on it.  Nothing remained of the furnace stack ca.1966, except a few foundation stones.

Bibliographical Sources:  This section under construction.                                                    

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