Blast Furnace, Pittsburgh, P.A.

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
The United States leads all other countries in the production of iron ore. It produces over one-third of the ore of the world, or over 65,000,000 tons. Germany ranks second with over half this amount; the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ranks third with about one-fourth; and France ranks fourth with about one-fifth. Pittsburgh leads all other cities in the world in the manufacture of iron and steel. This view shows a section of one of the great Pittsburgh plants. The iron ore is drawn up the tracks on the steep incline in the center of the view. You see two of the cars now climbing the grade. The contents of theses cars are dropped into the big furnaces where the ore is heated to a great temperature by coke fires. This furnace is 85 feet high and 18 feet across its top. It is made of brick and cased with iron. The four drums to the right are huge stoves. These pump heated air into the furnace. You know fire will not burn without air. If cold air were turned into the furnace it would reduced the temperature. Engines drive this hot air into the furnace in great gusts or blasts. Hence the name, blast furnace. The pipe on the left side of the furnace is to carry off gases. The heat in this furnace must be as much as 2500° F. The manufacture of iron in the United States began first in Easton, Pa. Charcoal was used as a fuel in those days. Later it was learned that anthracite (n´ thrå-st) was a better fuel to smelt ore; and blast furnaces were located as near as possible to the hard coal fields. Still later it was learned that coke was even better than anthracite, for smelting purposes, and the iron business began to move from the hard coal fields in eastern Pennsylvania to the bituminous (b-t´ m-ns) fields in western Pennsylvania where it is now centered. Keystone ID: 6322 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.