Article ID: CBB135813963

"... A Monument to Misguided Enterprise": The Carp River Bloomery Iron Forge (2001)


The mid-19th-century Carp River Forge was the first iron smelting operation on the Marquette Iron Range, launching the iron industry of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. At the forge, skilled ironworkers produced iron in bloomery hearths using charcoal, ore, and a water-powered air blast. This paper presents the results of the historical research and three seasons of excavation at the site. Major archaeological discoveries include the dam base, the water wheel gudgeon and crank, parts of the bloomery forges, a blacksmiths forge base, and the remains of houses for the forge workers. The archaeological remains of the bloomery forges suggest the forge workers employed the latest hot-air blast and firebox design. The spatial distribution of the ore, charcoal, and waste slag, in conjunction with the industrial features, defines the layout and organization of the industrial workings. The Carp River Forge is one of four short-lived bloomeries from the early days of the Marquette Iron Range, and it typifies the difficulties faced by these pioneering enterprises.

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Authors & Contributors
Gordon, Robert B.
Reynolds, Terry S.
Michael S. Raber
Edward F. Heite
John H. Kopmeier
David P. Staley
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Michigan Historical Review
Industrial archaeology
Iron and iron industry
Blast furnaces
Charcoal and charcoal industry
Iron, Cast
Iron Mines and Mining
Roland W. Robbins
United States
Pennsylvania (U.S.)
Michigan (U.S.)
Connecticut (U.S.)
New York (U.S.)
Wisconsin (U.S.)
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
20th century
17th century
Adirondack Iron and Steel Company
West Point Foundry

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