Skip to Content
HomeAbout this siteHelpSearch this site The Library of Congress
America's Story from America's LibraryMeet Amazing AmericansJump Back in TimeExplore the StatesJoin America at PlaySee, Hear and Sing
Explore the States Connecticut
Photo of the Beckley Furnace stack
Beckley Furnace stack, restored and stabilized, October 1999

Enlarge this image
The Beckley Blast Furnace: East Canaan, Connecticut
A Local Legacy

The furnace in the picture is a blast, literally. A blast furnace increases combustion with a blast of air.

Blast furnaces contain a hearth at the bottom that is shaped like a melting pot; a middle zone, called a bosh, a vertical shaft (the stack) that extends from the bosh to the top of the furnace; and the furnace top. The bosh is the hottest part of the furnace. Molten iron gathers in the hearth, which has a tap hole to draw off the molten iron and, higher up, a slag (residue) hole to remove the mixture of impurities.

John Adam Beckley built this furnace in 1847 for the production of pig iron, a crude kind of iron that is refined to produce steel or wrought iron. In 1919, after 72 years of operation, the Beckley Furnace closed.

In 1978, the Beckley Blast Furnace in East Canaan, Connecticut, was put on the National Register of Historic Places. Connecticut bought the furnace in 1946 with the intent of preserving the stack but didn't restore it until 1999. The hearth has been completely rebuilt with a cutaway section for visitor viewing. The blast furnace is a significant attraction on the Iron Heritage Trail in Northwestern Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts.

page 1 of 1 More Stories

About Local Legacies     

Library Of Congress | Legal Notices | Privacy | Site Map | Contact Us