Taken from: Historical collections of the Mahoning Valley: containing an account of the two pioneer reunions: together with a selection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc. relating to the sale and settlement of the lands belonging to the Connecticut land company, and history and reminiscences, both general and local. Vol.1
Published by the Mahoning County Historical Society, 1876
THE MONTGOMERY FURNACE
In response to an invitation to the toast of "Manufactures of the last Seventy-five Years", held September 10, 1874 in Youngstown, Ohio.
Penned by Thomas Struthers:
"I can not obtain evidence of the exact date when the first blast furnace on the Reserve was started into operation. Daniel Heaton (afterward abbreviated to Dan Eaton, by act of Assembly) I am satisfied built the stack, and made contracts for ore and wood for coal for a blast furnace, in 1803; and the recollection of my older brother is that he had it in operation that year. The only doubt as to the correctness of his recollection arises from the fact of a suit found on record by John Hayes and Dan Heaton vs. James Douglass, June term, 1808, claiming damages for the imperfect construction of a furnace bellows, contracted for September 1, 1806. This may have been to replace the original one, however. It was located about one and on-fourth miles from the mouth of Yellow Creek, in the township of Poland, then Trumbull, now Mahoning County."
"It is certain that Robert Montgomery and John Struthers, my father, built and put in operation a blast-furnace on the same stream, and on the farm on which the furnace of Struthers & Co. now stands, in the year 1806. These furnaces were of about equal capacity, and would yield about two and a half or three tons each per day. The metal was principally run into molds for kettles, caldrons, bake-ovens, flat-irons, stoves, hand-irons, and such other articles as the needs of new settlers required, and any surplus into pigs, and sent to the Pittsburg market. These were, I believe, the first blast-furnaces built in the State of Ohio, --certainly the first on the Reserve. The former, it is said, had for one side the natural rock of the bluff, against which it was built, and for that or other reasons was fickle in its working, and probably did not last long. I have no recollection of ever seeing it in blast. The latter continued to work until 1812, when the men were all drafted into the war, and it was never started up again."
Yours Truly, T. Struthers.
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Taken from: History of Northeaster Ohio, Vol. 1; by John Struthers Stewart; Historical Publishing Co., Indianapolis, IN; 1935
The Montgomery Furnace was built in 1806 on the Struthers farm by Robert Montgomery and David Clendenin in partner ship with the owner, John Struthers. This furnace was built on the hillside, but seems to have been free from the bank on all sides. Little of it now remains except a pile of stones, although recent excavations in connection with the construction of a district sewer main in the bed of Yellow Creek have laid bare certain portions of the wall and the lining. This furnace had a blast operated "by a water wheel. walking beams, and two wooden cylinders." One of these cylinders, of course, was at each end of the walking beam, so that one blew air into the furnace as the other refilled. This Struthers Furnace (not to be confused with the modern Anna Furnace built in Struthers in 1869) operated more efficiently than the Hopewell Furnace, on account of superior equipment and location.
The early furnaces in the Mahoning Valley used the native ore, a low grade, conglomerate hematite. This ore was mined and refined in the valley until the opening of Lake Superior mines in the 1870s. The quality of ore was poor according to modern standards, and the output was so small as to seem negligible, but the fact remains that these small beginnings made the valley what may perhaps be called "iron minded," and are the reason for the present great development of the industry.
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