NEW Kings and Princes of
one should quote a product and an industry which more than any other
symbolizes the industrial revolution of the Gilded Age, that would be steel.
Its forerunner, iron, has marked human civilization since the ancient times
and iron forges were quite familiar in Antebellum America, wherever the
useful ore could be found. The Alleghenies, which cross Pennsylvania North
to South and cover much of its territory, were rich in iron ore and even
richer in coal deposits, which became more convenient than charcoal after
the introduction of the anthracite blast furnace in the 1840s.
whilst there were blast furnaces and forges in every one of the thirteen
original colonies except Georgia, the most industrialized region in America,
as far as iron is concerned, was Southeastern Pennsylvania. Incidentally,
the iron industry was quite developed in the American colonies by the time
of the Revolution. In 1775, the region produced almost 1/7th of the world
output of iron, up from a tiny 1/70th at the beginning of the 18th century
and altogether more than England and Wales combined .
colonial and antebellum iron works in America were organized on plantations
or around small rural communities, more or less close to iron mines but
always in the vicinity of the still abundant forests. Charcoal, preferably
made from hardwood (hickory, oak, etc), was still the major fuel to heat the
American furnaces well into the 19th century, while the British iron
industry had already converted to coal and coke .
few of the colonial fortunes of America were based or significantly
increased by iron works or mines though. The Livingston family’s Ancram iron
works and their part ownership of the Salisbury mines contributed to the
income of Livingston Manor. And both, Robert Carter III (the councilor) and
Charles Carroll (III) of Carrolton (a signer of the Declaration of
Independence) held substantial shares in the Baltimore Iron Works.
> Steel Kings :