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A Large Business: The Clintonville Site, Resources, and Scale at Adirondack Bloomery Forges

Gordon C. Pollard and Haagen D. Klaus
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Vol. 30, No. 1 (2004), pp. 19-46
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40968646
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Large Business: The Clintonville Site, Resources, and Scale at Adirondack Bloomery Forges
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Abstract

Founded early in the 19th century, the ironworks at Clintonville in the Adirondack region of upstate New York rapidly rose to prominence as the world's largest bloomery forge and provided the bloom-iron industry with the earliest known application of hot blast to forge operation. The works included mining, smelting, and manufacturing, with an approach that emphasized direct control of the resources necessary for production. This research looks at Clintonville in relation to other bloomery forge sites of the region and explores the importance of ore, charcoal, and power sources as variables in determining forge location. With respect to scale, comparative historical research demonstrates a variety of modes of operation, with Clintonville eventually becoming eclipsed by companies that consolidated multiple enterprises. Findings provide insight into the layout and operation of Clintonville's large bloomery facility, combining rich historical documentation with four seasons of excavations at the forge site. The archaeological discoveries include features of charcoal storage, trip hammer and waterwheel setup, tailraces, a blacksmith forge, and remains of several of the 16 bloomery forges that once stood within the main forge building. Consideration is also given to individuals who contributed to the success of Clintonville's industrial endeavors and who represent a component that was fundamental to the progression of the 19th-century bloom-iron industry overall.

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