Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hopewell Furnace National Park

Continuing my Berks History tour from the Mouns Jones Festival, I made the short drive to the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. They were offering free admission celebrating the National Parks system.

I arrived in time to see the demo on furnace operation and watched the three educators make a replica "aluminum" piece from the infamous Hopewell Furnace cast iron stove.

They talked about the history of the area and how its natural resources of limestone, iron ore and hardwood forests are the key ingredients for iron and pig iron.

Skilled iron smiths and apprentices made high quality, durable stoves. The stoves actually were made of ten interlocking pieces which were shipped to purchasers who needed to then assemble.

Hopewell Furnace, similar to Joanna Furnace, was a whole little community dedicated to supporting the men that keep giant furnaces hot enough to smelt iron and manufacture goods.

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