Anthracite Furnace

Tall ruins of an anthracite furnace made up of stones.
Ruins of an anthracite furnace

NPS Photo

This hot blast anthracite furnace was built in 1853 as an attempt to modernize the iron making process. Instead of charcoal, it used anthracite coal mined in northeastern Pennsylvania as fuel. A heated air blast from a steam engine, instead of cold air from a water wheel, was far more efficient and produced higher quality iron. Unfortunately, Hopewell's remote location made it too expensive to ship the needed coal, and this furnace was abandoned in 1857.

The iron industry was changing. Furnaces were moving away from remote locations and closer to transportation hubs. Hopewell's owners dismantled the equipment and rebuilt it about six miles away, at another complex they owned, the Monocacy Furnace, next to the Schuylkill Canal. There the furnace performed well and operated until the 1890s.

Last updated: December 19, 2020

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