Lock Ridge Iron Company
Lock Ridge, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
The first first furnace of the Lock Ridge Iron Company was put into blast on March 18, 1868. A second furnace went into blast on July 9, 1868.
The Lock Ridge Ridge Furnace at Lock Ridge, Pennsylvania, was an anthracite iron furnace. The Anthracite Iron Industry was important to the economic development of the area and the country. The anthracite era spanned a period of seventy-four years, from 1840 through 1914. For a period of thirty years, 1850 to 1880 the Lehigh valley was the most important iron producing district in the United States.
The demise of the industry was chiefly due to the discovery of newer technologies and practices which proved to be superior in the production of iron.
Anthracite iron production came into prominence with the development of the hot blast concept which made the use of anthracite coal as a blast furnace fuel possible and released the ironmaster from his dependence on increasingly expensive charcoal. The need to preheat the last to achieve proper combustion of this "rock coal" led to the recovery of waste gases, which in the charcoal furnaces had been allowed to burn off at the mouth of the stack. The use of heated blast had the additional benefit of lowering the fuel consumption per ton of iron produced, thus reducing production cost. Greatly increased quantities of iron produced at lower cost allowed for the rapid expansion of the railroads, the relatively inexpensive production of farming machinery and, in general, provided the fundation for the Industrial Revolution in America.
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