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Blast Furnace Technology in the Mid-19th Century: A Case Study of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company

Bruce E. Seely
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Vol. 7, No. 1 (1981), pp. 27-54
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40968010
Page Count: 28
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Blast Furnace Technology in the Mid-19th Century: A Case Study of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company
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Abstract

By examining the combined physical and written evidence of an American charcoal iron company's response to a period of rapid technological change, this study attempts to offer new insights into patterns of technological accommodation in a declining industry. The traditional image of the ante-bellum charcoal iron industry is that of a sleepy, backward sector undisturbed by the turmoil of rapid technological change in the industry as a whole. But the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company site in upstate New York, surveyed by the Historic American Engineering Record in 1978, does not conform to this conventional wisdom This paper establishes that the operation was representative of contemporary charcoal iron works and suggests that the industry was as aggressive in its pursuit of the latest technological advances as were the mineral fuel users who ultimately superseded it.

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