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Report upon the Airdrie furnace and property, Muhlenburg County, Kentucky / by P.N. Moore. Moore, Philip North, b. 1849. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b96-12-34887795 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Report upon the Airdrie furnace and property, Muhlenburg County, Kentucky / by P.N. Moore. Moore, Philip North, b. 1849. Stereotyped for the Survey by Major, Johnston & Barrett, Yeoman Press, [Frankfort, Ky. : 1877] 28 p. ; 28 cm. Coleman Pages also numbered 161-188. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1996. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-21089) ; SOL MN06011.11 KUK) Printing Master B96-12. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Iron industry and trade Kentucky. GEOLOG(ICAL SURVEY OF KENTUCKY. N. S. SHALER, DIRECTOR. REPORT UPON THE AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY, MUHLENBURG COUNTY, KENTUCKY, BY P. N. MOORE. PART IV. VOL. II. SECOND SERIES. VOL. II.-I I i6, & ,62 This page in the original text is blank. INTRODUCTORY LETTER. Professor N. S. SHALER, Director Kentucky Geological Survey: SIR: In accordance with your instructions, I made, during the past summer, an examination of the Airdrie Furnace and property, with a view to ascertain something of the resources of the estate, the causes of the former non-success of the furnace, and to suggest, if possible, the means whereby it can be brought into successful operation. The time at my com- mand did not suffice for a careful geological examination of the whole property, and my attention was therefore given only to that portion in the immediate neighborhood of the furnace. It is to this that the furnace must look for its supply of fuel for a long time to come, and, as on examination it proved suffi- ciently rich in coal to place the matter of a sufficient supply beyond reasonable doubt, little attention was given to any other part of the property. P. N. MOORE, Assistant. LEXINGTON, Ky., December, 1874. 063 REPORT UPON THE AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY, MUHLENB3URG COUNTY, KY. SITUATION. Airdrie Furnace is situated near the village of Paradise, Muhlenburg county, Kentucky, on the bank of Green river, one hundred and thirty miles above its mouth, eighty-five miles below the head of slack-water navigation at Bowlifig Green. It is also four miles above Rockport, where the Lou- isville, Paducah and Southwestern Railroad crosses Green river, a stream which furnishes slack-water navigation for two hundred and fifteen miles, at nearly all times of the year, to boats drawing four feet of water; and during the greater portion of the time is navigable for boats drawing six feet. There are but two locks between Airdrie Furnace and the Ohio river, and these are of a size uniform on Green river- one hundred and forty-five feet long by thirty-six feet wide. THE FURNACE. The furnace was built in 1855-'56. It has an iron shell stack, resting upon a masonry base, twenty-six and a half feet square by twenty-one feet high. The outside diameter of the shell is twenty-three feet. The internal dimensions of the furnace are as follows: height fifty feet, diameter of bosh seventeen feet, height to bosh twenty-four feet (bosh cylindrical for six feet), diameter of throat eleven feet. The hearth is four feet high (elliptica in shape), seven feet four inches by (about) five feet. "4 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. The furnace is entirely open-topped, having no facilities for saving the gases, and requiring separate firing for both boil- ers and hot-blast. There are two hot-blast ovens of the old-fashioned pistol- pipe pattern, with thirty-four pipes in each oven, ten curved pipes on each side, with seven straight at each end. The pipes are eight feet long, elliptical in cross section, nine by eighteen inches, with diaphragm through the center of each. There are four boilers, each forty inches in diameter by twenty-eight feet in length, each boiler having two flues. The engine is vertical, with direct connection between the steam and blast cylinders, and also connected with a heavy walking beam and fly-wheel, the walking beam working with a counterpoise at one end. The steam cylinder is twenty inches in diameter, and nine feet stroke; the blast cylinder six feet ten inches in diameter, stroke same as steam cylinder. The engine-house is a splendid stone structure, built of a fine free stone, which occurs at the furnace. Everything about the furnace is constructed in the most thorough and durable manner. The top of the furnace is about the level of the No. ii Coal, to be hereafter described, and the ore and coal from the No. 12 seam were brought to the furnace mouth through a tunnel cut in the No. r l Coal. The engine is in good order and well preserved. The furnace proper stands perfectly sound, and could, in a very brief time, be put in condition to go into blast; but among the buildings attached thereto the lapse of the many years since they were in use has not been without its effect, so that repairs to both buildings arid hot-blast apparatus will need to be made before they can be used again. THE PROPERTY. The Airdrie Furnace property consists of about 17,ooo acres of land in Muhlenburg county, Kentucky. This land is not all in one body, but lies in various sized lots, ranging from 500 to i6S S REPORT UPON THE 5,ooo acres. The greater portion of the estate lies within a short distance of the furnace; but one tract of about 5,000 acres-the old Buckner Furnace property-is about five miles from Greenville, the county seat of Muhlenburg county, and fifteen miles from Airdrie. Upon this tract, if all reports be true, there are extensive beds of iron ore, as well as some of the lower coals, one of which, said to be four feet thick, was mined and coked for use at the old Buckner Furnace. The situation is such, however, being five miles from the railroad at Greenville, that for the present, at least, the minerals of this tract cannot be rendered available. We come then to the examination of the property adjacent to the furnace. A geological section showing the number and position of the coals here is given in the third volume of the Kentucky Geological Reports, first series, page 24. This section was obtained in sinking a shaft at the furnace, and the measurements are therefore probably much more accu- rate than those usually obtained by boring. In reproducing the essential parts of the section, and describing the coals, the numbers assigned to them in the first series Geological Survey Reports will be used provisionally, for the reason that they are best known by these numbers, and that, although they have been discarded by the present Survey, the final nomenclature has not yet been decided upon. We have, then, at this place the following coals: 1. Coal No. I2, two feet thickness of clear coal, then two feet of brashy coal. Resting upon this is a bed of slaty car- bonate of iron, which sometimes contains a small amount of carbonaceous matter, and is called a Black-band iron ore. This ore ranges from four to fourteen inches in thickness, with an average of perhaps five or six. Its chemical consti- tution will be referred to hereafter. II. Twenty-one feet below Coal No. 12, resting immediately under a hard, blue limestone, is Coal No. i i, six feet thick, in three members, each about two feet in thickness, with a part- ing of one to two inches of pyritiferous shale between each member. This coal is about sixty-five feet above Green river. i66 6 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. III. Below the level of Green river, and eighty-four feet under Coal No. I I, is Coal No. 9, five feet thick. This is the same coal as that mined so extensively for the Louisville market along the line of the Louisville, Paducah and South- western Railroad. Little is known of its quality here, but it is safe to suppose that it does not vary greatly from that along the railroad. IV. There are one or two thin coals below this, but it is not until a depth of three hundred and forty-one feet below No. 9 is reached that another coal of workable thickness occurs. This is called No. 5 by Dr. Owen, and is three feet six inches thick. If the report of the miners who sunk the shaft, and of others who were employed at the furnace, is to be believed, this coal is of most excellent quality. A drift was run, and considerable coal taken out and used under the boilers with great success. We see, therefore, that there are here, including the No. 12 Coal, which can be profitably worked with the overlying iron ore, no less than four coals of workable thickness. QUALITY OF THE COAL. Of the quality of No. 5 and No. 9 Coal at this place, we of course know nothing, for it was impossible to obtain samples for analysis. Samples of the No. II coal were obtained from the mine at Paradise, adjoining the Airdrie property. They were taken with gteat care from a number of rooms in the mine, in order to obtain as nearly an average as possible, rep- resenting the coal as actually mined and shipped. It is a brilliant black, firm coal, with comparatively little fibrous coal or mineral charcoal. It cleaves readily into large rectangular blocks in mining. There is considerable pyrites mingled with it in an increasing ratio from the top to the bottom, the upper member carrying the least. A sample was taken from each member. The following analyses are by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt, chemists of the Survey: 7 REPORT UPON THE ANALYSES OF NUMBER ELEVEN COAL, PARADISE MINE. Upper. Middle. Bottom Specific grasty.. 1.274 1.326 1-331 Moisture.. . 60 4.10 4.20 Volatile combustible matter. 38.70 35.90 36.io Fixed carbon . . . 53 70 coke 57 70 56o cke60. 00 5lcoke 59.70 Ash.......... 4(.00 57 6.4o e. 9.20j Total... .. .. .. soo.oo ioo.oo ioo.oo Sulphur..... .. .. 3.158 4.394 4.573 It will be seen from the above that while an extremely good coal in the matter of freedom from water and ash, yet there is a very considerable per centage of sulphur present. It is, however, an excellent household and steam coal, and is held in high repute wherever it has been tried. Large quantities are sent from the Paradise mines to Bowling Green, where it is used for domestic purposes and by the railroad, and it is there rated higher than any other coal from Green river. The No. 12 Coal.-As it was in the expectation of using this coal raw for fuel that the furnace was built, and as it was actually so used during the short campaigns of the furnace, it became a matter of considerable importance to obtain a per- fectly average representative sample for analysis. The attempt to obtain such a sample was only partially suc- cessful. The old entries by which the coal was worked have fallen in, so that it was impossible to get at the face of the coal where a sample from a number of places could be taken. A shaft was, therefore, sunk through the coal near one of the entries, and an average sample taken. Another was taken from a pile of several thousand bushels which lies at the mouth of one of the old drifts, where it has been exposed to the weather for seventeen years. Although these must both rep- resent the coal with a certain degree of accuracy, yet at both places it had been to a certain extent exposed to the weather, and may have absorbed water and parted with some sulphur. 168 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. The fact that the coal is quite "e fat," however, containing much bituminous matter, tended to preserve it from the action of the weather. In the interior of the pile of coal at the entry many pieces were found only very slightly affected by its protracted e tposure. It is a deep -black coal, showing little pyrites, and quite bitu- minous, too much so apparently to be successfully used alone raw in the blast furnace. Of the following three analyses the first was made by Dr. Peter, and published in the fourth vol- ume of Kentucky Geological Reports, first series, page 230. Of the character of the sample and by whom taken I am ignorant. The second and third are by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt, from average samples taken by myself. The second is the weathered coal from the stock-pile; the third from bot- tom of shaft near entry No. 4. ANALYSES OF NUMBER TWELVE COAL, AIRDRIE FURNACE. I. II. III. Specific gravity..... . 1'593 1.332 1.278 Moisture.............. 7.o6 40 7 3.60 Volatile c-mbustible matter. 30.84 30.60 31.40 Fixed carbon _. 7 e 58 8coke.64 7.50 coke 65,00 Total... .. .. . . 100.00 100.00 100.00 Sulphur. 0.789 1-455 1.438 A remarkable resemblance will be noticed between analyses two and three, showing that they have weathered very simi- larly; but the coal of No. 2 has absorbed more water and lost some of its volatile combustible matter. They show this to be a coal of very good quality, with neither sulphur nor ash sufficient to seriously injure it. It is so bituminous that it did not work well raw in the furnace, and after three unsuccessful trials it was decided to use it coked. A large amount of coke, s(ex fral thousand bushels, was made; but the furnace was never started again, and it now lies on the stock bank, some 169 9 REPORT UPON THE of it good looking coke yet, after the rain and snows of seven- teen years have fallen upon it. It is difficult to tell what the quality of it was when first made, and a sample taken from this pile does not fairly represent the coke that can be made from the coal; but it was regarded as matter of sufficient inter- est to be worth an analysis. I accordingly selected from the least weathered of the coke a sample for analysis, which is here given. The coke was made in open heaps, and there- fore is not as firm and dense as it would be if coked in close ovens: Moisture expelled at 212 ...................... ........... ............. 7.50 Moisture expelled at red heat .. ...... . . . . . . . ....... 4.20 Fixed caron .82.90 Ash .. . .. . . .. .. . .. .. ... ... ... .. . 5.4o Total... .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. tao.oo Sulphur.... .. .. . .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . o.642 The composition of the ash is as follows: Silica and silicates............... . 4.32 Alumina, oxide of iron, and manganese ..4 Lime.. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. . 33 Magnesia..... .. . .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. . . i Phosphoric acid.. .8 Total. 539 As was to be expected, the coke has absorbed a very considerable per centage of water; but the amounts of both sulphur and ash are small. THE IRON ORE. Above the No. 12 Coal, already referred to, is a hard, dense, slaty carbonate, often containing fern leaf impressions between its cleavage planes. The amount of bituminous mat- ter shown by analysis is small, and probably adheres to it from the associate shale and coal. It contains occasional specks of pyrites large enough to be easily seen by the unassisted eye. Its appearance is decidedly against it, and it seems to be much leaner than it really is. 170 T0 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. The same difficulty was experienced in obtaining a fair average sample of the ore as with the No. 12 Coal. A sample was obtained from the same shaft, sunk to reach the coal near the old No. 4 entry, but it was so near the surface that the ore had been altered to a limonite. At this place, too, it seemed to be less silicious than usual, and the average, of course, was taken from only a limited amount of ore. Another sample was taken from a pile of unroasted ore lying near the mouth of the entry, where it has been exposed to the weather for seventeen years. Still another sample was taken from a large pile of roasted ore, which had undergone a like period of exposure since roasting. In all of these there is a possibility that the ore is a little richer in iron and more free from sulphur than will be found to be the case when it is reached at a place where it is wholly unaltered; for the exposure to the air has a most bene- ficial effect in peroxidizing the iron and removing the sulphur. The analyses by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt are as fol- lows: 1. 2. Peroxide of iron..... .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. 63.048 859.810 Alumina... .. .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. .. . 5.290 2.972 Brown oxide of manganese....9.0........... . .. g9 .720 Carbonateof lime. ... ......... .................. .50 Lime.. .... . .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. .. . . 2.263 Magnesia.. ...... . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .9.930 4.270 Phosphoric acid...................... . .147 .223 Sulphur..... . . .. .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. .. .044 .o65 Combined water..... .. . .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. 12.430 .2o6 Silica and insoluble silicates........ .. . .. .. . . . 17-250 29.880 Total.. .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. . 99.909 100.409 Specific gravity......... 3.246 3.652 Metallic iron......... 44.133 41.867 Phosphorus.... .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .064 .097 No. 1. Ore from bottom of shaft near No. 4 entry. No. 2. Roasted ore from the stock-pile, weathered seven- teen years since roasting. III I I REPORT UPON THE The above ores are both altered from the carbonate; one by the slow natural process of oxidation, the other by the process of roasting. The analyses of the carbonate ores: I.1 2. _ (carbonate of iron.............. . 47.810 59.344 Peroxideof iron..... . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . 9.054 4.180 Alumina. .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . 5.205 2.290 Carte1nate of manganese.......... .. . .. . .. . . 797 2.017 Carbonate of lime......... . .. . .. .. . .. . . 3.740 3 390 Magnesia... .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . 7. 180 7.149 Phosphoric acid......... . . ...... . . . ... 179 .428 Sulphur.... . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .094 .246 Carbonaceous matter and water........ . .. . .. . . 8.788 4.071 Silica and insoluble silicates.17.010 i6.2So Total... .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. 100.099 oo. 6o9 Potash... . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .286 Soda............ ..... ....... . 322 Specific gravity........... 3.376 2.959 Metallic iron............ 29.418 31-.598 Phosphorus... ..... .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .078 .t 86 No. I. Average sample from the stock pile, where the ore had weathered seventeen years. No. 2. Analysis by Dr. Peter, published in volume three, page 337, of the first series Kentucky Geological Reports. of - Black-band ore, roof of upper coal, Airdrie Furnace." From the foregoing analyses the following conclusions are drawn: First. The No. II Coal, while a fine domestic and steam- producing fuel, contains too much sulphur to be used in the manufacture of iron, without a previous preparation by wash- ing and coking. That this could be successfully done there is little doubt. The strength and density of the coke might not be equal to the best, but it would be a fuel of fair quality; such as could, it is believed, be used successfully in the manufacture of iron. Second. The No. 12 Coal is an excellent fuel, on account of its small per centages of sulphur and ash; but the former experience of the furnace seems to prove conclusively what 172 12 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. the appearance of the coal indicates, that it is too fat to use raw in the furnace, and should be coked. The amount of sulphur is so small that the coal can be coked without previ- ous preparation, to free it from sulphur, and it will probably produce a superior coke; this, however, can only be dem- onstrated by actual trial on a large scale. Third. The ore contains enough iron and is sufficiently free from injurious mixture to be safely used to a certain extent; but it will probably prove necessary to use other ores with it. It is not unlikely, as already stated, that the analyses rep- resent the ore as somewhat better than it really is, and that it will be found on trial, when used alone, to make a low grade of iron. There is, furthermore, the fact that, while both the coal and ore have to be mined together in order to be cheaply obtained, the output of coal for a given area will be more than twice as much as is required for the reduction of the ore from the same area, assuming from the general testimony that the coal will average two feet in thickness and the ore six inches. Of the coal, with a specific gravity of 1.33 and a thickness of two feet, each acre of land will contain 3,300 tons of 2,240 pounds each. Of the ore, with a specific gravity of 3.25, and six inches thick, each acre will contain 2,015 tons. The ore will prob- ably not yield in the furnace more than an average of twenty- eight or twenty-nine per cent., thus requiring for the production of one ton of iron three and a half tons of the raw ore. For the reduction of this amount of ore only from two to three gross tons of coal will be required, probably not exceeding an average of two and a half tons. The coal from one acre of land will, therefore, be sufficient for the reduction of more than two and a fifth times as much ore as is produced from the same area. The necessity, then, of looking elsewhere for a partial ore supply is evident. The situation of Airdrie Furnace is one remarkably favor- able for the facilities with which ores from a number of regions can be cheaply laid down at the furnace. It can command, at very reasonable rates for freight, the following ores: 173 I13 14 REPORT UPON THE (a) Coal measure ores from Green river valley. (b) Limonites from the Cumberland river region. (c) Specular ores from Missouri. (a) Coal measure ores from the Green river valley. There are, in a large number of places in the valley of Green river, ores of workable thickness and apparently considerable area; but they are as yet generally undeveloped, and frequently so far from the river or other means of transportation that they cannot be rendered available without the expenditure of con- siderable sums to provide such means of transportation. To this class belong the ores of the Buckner Furnace tract,already referred to. These must some day be developed and used at the furnace; but for the present they are inaccessible. They comprise both slaty carbonates or Black-band, and fossiliferous ores. One locality was visited where is an exposure of eight or ten inches of the Black-band ore, and a sample for analysis selected. The ore from which it was taken had been ex- posed to the weather for thirty years or more. The following is the analysis by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt: Carbonate of iron ............. ............ . . 42. 95 Peroxide of iron ............. . ............... . 29.60S Alumina........ .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. ....... . 2.454 Carbonate of manganese.. I.S3 Carbonate of lime. 2 90 Carbonate of magnesia............... ....... 4. S28 Phosphoric acid... .... . . . , .085 Sulphuricacid..... .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. . l.5 l. i Carbonaceous matter and loss. 5.8 Silica and insoluble silicates. 9030 Total . ........ . ............100.000 Metallic iron. . . ... . . . . . . . 36.g96 Phosphorus.... .. . .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. . ... .. .. .036 Sulphr...... .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. . .. .. .. . .638 In Edmonson county, on the north side of Green river, between Bear Creek and Nolin river, is an extensive and val- uable deposit of o6litic ore; but it is, where best developed, some six miles from Green river, and it cannot be hauled to the river cheaply enough to compete with ores from other 174 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. '5 places lower down. It is of excellent quality, and can be mined quite cheaply, and, if accessible, would be one of the most available ores. I append analysis, by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt, of ore from a bank at the head of Beaver Dam Branch of Bear Creek. Shaler: Average sample by Prof. N. S. Peroxide of iron....... .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . . . 52.926 Alumina.. . . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. 4.792 Brown oxide of imanganese... .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . . .210 Carbonate of.. . . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . . . ISO Magnesia.., 42S Phosphoric acid .35S Sulphur.... . . ..057 Combined water..... ................................ .. 10.400 Silica and insoluble silicates.... . .. . . .. . .. . .. . . .. . . 30.589 Total... . .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 99934 Metallic iron..... ..... ..........37.048 Phosphorus... .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . . 15 In Butler county, near the mouth of Little Reedy Creek, from one and a half to two miles distant from Green river, on the James E. Taylor farm, is a deposit of ore which shows at the outcrop three feet thick. It was only seen at one place, and little or nothing is known of its horizontal range. It has never been worked. An average sample was taken by Mr. J. R. Proctor, who first discovered it, and analyzed by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt, with the following result: Peroxide of iron........ . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . . 48.049 Alumina. . . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . . 8.171 Brown oxide of manganese.... . .. . .. . . .. . I. . .. . .. .140 Carbonate of lime... .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . 540 Magnesia... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . 195 Phosphoric acid........................... 5 Sulphuric acid....... . .. . . . . .473 Combined water.... .. . .. . .9....... . .. . . .. . . . 9.750 Silica and insoluble silicates.3..9................... . _ 9_ Total... . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . 99563 Metallic iron..... ........................ . 33.634 Phosphorus... .. . .. . .. . .. . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .150 Sulphur.... . .. . .. . ... . . . .. . ... .. . .. . . . .189 175 REPORT UPON THE It is a silicious, somewhat oolitic limonite, altered from the carbonate; and as it occurs in shales, with a high hill above it, it will probably be soon found as the blue carbonate. Its situation is such that it can be very cheaply placed in boats, on the slack-water of Green river, about seven miles above the lock at Woodbury. Should it be found, on closer examination, to retain its thickness, and extend over a consid- erable area, it can be mined very cheaply. A reasonable estimate of its cost at the furnace, provided the above conditions hold, would be: Per ton. Mining and royalty....................................... . 175 Hauling to river and loading on barges......... .. . .. .. . . 75 Freight on Green river.................. . . 1 25 Unloading at furnace.......... . .. .. .. . .. .. . .. . 25 Making the total cost......... .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. . 4 oo Two of these items, the freight on Green river and the hauling to the river, might be considerably reduced. It is probable that three dollars or three dollars and fifty cents would be a minimum cost at the furnace. In Muhlenburg county, on Mud river, on land belonging to Jeremiah M. Hope, is a deposit of ore which, over a limited area, shows the unusual thickness of twelve to fifteen feet. The ore is exceedingly fossiliferous, partly a limonite and partly an unaltered carbonate. The upper portion of the ore is somewhat lean and silicious; the middle and lower portions of the bed are of fine quality. The following analyses by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt show the character of the ore: 176 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. 17 1. 2. 3- Peroxide of iron........... . . .. . . 46.866 60.492 18-374 Carbonate of iron . . ... .. ...... 26.643 Alumina.5... .. . .. .. . . . . . .. , 5930 7.075 6.548 Brown oxide of manganese............ . .103 .360 a trace. (arb.nate of lime............... . . 2.535 1.980 13.430 Magnesia... ..... . .. ,..... .. . . 1x073 1. 550 5.698 Phosphoric acid..... . .. .. .. . .179 .o83 .211 Sulphur... . .. . 0.... .. . .. .. . . .059 .074 .074 combined water.......... . .. . .. . . 9. 550 12. 530 6. 792 silica and insoluble silicates ............ . 33.530 15.560 22.230 Total... .. . .. . .. . 9...... . . 9.825 99.674 . kfetatlic iron.3........ .. .. . .. . . . 32.8o6 42.344 27.136 Phosphorus.n...... . .. .. . .. . .. . . 0`77 .032 .092 i. Sample, not carefully averaged, of limonite from the upper portion of the deposit. 2. Average sample of the lirnonite of the lower and middle portions of the deposit. 3. Average sample of the blue carbonate ore of the lower part of the deposit. This ore seems to be in a regularly stratified deposit, but it only retains its unusual thickness over an area of perhaps 1,200 square yards. It is found at another locality, one third of a mile distant, on the opposite side of the ridge, two and a half feet thick. The distance of the principal deposit from the head of slack-water, on Mud river, is four miles. Over this distance the ore would have to be wagoned, at a probable cost of one dollar and fifty cents per ton. The distance from the head of navigation, on Mud river, to Airdrie, by water, is about twenty miles, and in that twenty miles one lock to be passed. The cost of freight would be about seventy-five cents per ton. The ore can be mined quite cheaply, as very little stripping will be required for some time. One dollar and twenty-five cents will probably be sufficient to cover the cost of mining and royalty. The cost of this ore would therefore be: VIL 11-12 REPORT UPON THE Per ton. Mining and royalty........................ .. 25 Hauling to river. 50 Freight to Airdrie .75 Unloading at furnace .25 Total. 3 75 By the purchase of the deposit and the use of their own barges by the owners of the furnace, this cost might be reduced to three dollars, or even less. In Muhlenburg county, near Greenville, on the farm of Mr. Dabney Martin, some three miles from the Louisville, Paducah and Southwestern Railroad, is a bed of quite pure limonite ore. It is only eight inches thick, but is so situated that it could be mined over a large area, as the stripping above it would not be deep. It is of excellent quality. The analysis is as follows: Peroxide of iron....... .. .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .. . 69.546 Alumina............................... . 3.914 Brown oxide of manganese....... .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .2p0 Carbonate of lime........ .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .480 Magnesia.. .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. .921 Phosphoric acid.... .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . . 115 Sulphur... .. . .. .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. . . . 86 Combinedwater.. .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. 11.250 Silica andilicates... . . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . 12.730 Total... . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . 99272 Metallic iron..... . ......... . 48.8.2 Phosphorus..... ...0.5.0............. . . This ore would cost, delivered on the cars at Greenville, three dollars per ton; freight from Greenville to Rockport, one dollar and fifty cents; hauling and freight from Rockport to Airdrie, fifty cents-making the cost of the ore at the fur- nace five dollars per ton, a price which renders its use at present out of the question. (b) Limonites of the Cumberland river region. The ores of this region are too well known to need especial descrip- tion. They are cherty limonites found in the clays on the I7S is AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. stib-carboniferous limestone, in unstratified and irregular but extensive deposits. They vary greatly in quality at every deposit, and great care is required in mining to prevent the cherty ore from becoming mixed with the better quality. They yield from thirty-five to fifty per cent. of the iron, and even higher when free from chert. There are numbers of these deposits in Lyon county, close to the line of the Lou- isville, Paducah and Southwestern Railroad. I visited some of these and obtained samples for analysis: 1. 2. 3. 4. Peroxide of iron..... .. . .. .. . 59.370 70.518 66.117 69.412 Alumina.... .. .. . .. .. . .. 1.622 045 1.064 not est. Brown oxide of manganese... ..... .090 Ig9 .170 .170 Carbonate of lime........... 170 .090 .090 .140 Mignesia.. ...... . .. .. . .. .100 a trace. a trace. a trace. Phosphoric acid... .. . .. .. . .. .179 .275 .434 .313 Sulphur........ .. .. . .. . .212 .045 not est. a trace. C(Tmbined water..... . .. .. . .. 8.400 9.850 9.800 9-550 Silica and insoluble silicates ....... . 30.ooo 18.910 22.330 20.500 Total.1.0.0...0....... . .. . 100-053 99.923 100.005 100.085 Metallic iron...... . 41-559 49-363 46.282 48.588 Iosphorus.... . .. .. . .. .. . .077 .120 .189 .144 These ores are all from the old Suwanee Furnace lands, in Lyon county, and the samples were taken to represent, as nearly as possible, the average character of the ore of each deposit, chert and all. All of the ore could be picked so as to give a much better average, and it would be necessary to do so in shipping. No. i. Ore from "Big Showing" bank, Suwanee Furnace property, Lyon county. No. 2. Ore from bank close to the furnace, Suwanee Fur- nace property, Lyon county. No. 3. Ore from bank at railroad cut, Suwanee Furnace Property, Lyon county. No. 4. Ore from Iron Mountain bank, Suwanee Furnace property, Lyon county. 119 19 so REPORT UPON THE It would be safe to estimate that these ores can be relied on to yield forty-five per cent. of iron,where properly sorted be. fore shipment. These deposits are situated about eighty miles from the crossing of Green river at Rockport. Parties stand willing to-day to deliver these ores on the cars at two dollars and fifty cents per ton. The Louisville, Paducah and Southwestern Railroad will transport, in small quantities, from Lyon county to Rockport for one dollar and fifty cents per ton, and will take large quantities at much less rates. It is probable that on a regular contract the rates would not exceed one dollar or one dollar and twenty-five cents per ton. The expense of loading into barges at Rock- port, towing to Airdrie (four miles) and unloading, should not exceed fifty cents per ton. By the erection of a proper chute or tip at Rockport this could be reduced nearly one half. Assuming the maximum rates for freight, the cost of Lyon county ore at Airdrie would be: Per ton. Ore delivered on cars......... . ........ .. . .. .. . . 2 50 Freight to Rockport .1 25 Handling and towage to furnace.. 5 Total.... . ..... .... .4 25 This could be reduced by making large contracts and some expenditure for a dock at Rockport; but this estimate, like all the others, is made on a basis of the purchase of the ore without the investment of any capital. With such investment, four dollars per ton would safely cover the cost of a ton of ore at the furnace. (c) The specular ores of Missouri. These well-known ores are known under two classes, the Iron Mountain ore and the Central Missouri ores. There is not a great deal of differ- ence in their quality. They are all rich, yielding from sixty to sixty-seven per cent. of iron. The Iron Mountain ore has a little the largest per centage of iron, and is of the most ISO AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. uniform quality. It averages sixty-five to sixty-seven per cent. of iron; the Central Missouri ores from sixty to sixty- five. Iron Mountain ore is now worth in St. Louis seven dollars per ton; Central Missouri ores, six dollars. These ores can be brought in barges directly from St. Louis to the furnace, or they can be shipped to Evansville by rail, and from there to the furnace in barges. In either case,the cost for transportation from St. Louis should not exceed two dol- lars and fifty cents to three dollars per ton; thus making the cost of the Missouri ores nine dollars and fifty cents to ten dollars per ton at the furnace for Iron Mountain ore, and eight dollars and fifty cents to nine dollars for Central Missouri. THE AVERAGE COST PER TON OF IRON for each of the two classes of ore available to Airdrie Furnace, based on the foregoing estimates, which are certainly large enough in each case to be almost called maximum estimates, would be: 3 tons Green fler ore, at3 75 pert....... .. .. .. . .. 1 25 2'1 tans Cum-erland river ore, at 4 25 . .............. 9 56 tons Iron Mountain, at lo 00. . .............. 5 00 2,4 tons Central Missouri, at9 00 . . ........ ........15 00 The Cumberland river ores, therefore, are considerably the cheapest that can be obtained at present without the outlay of considerable additional capital. Their richness is such as to add another considerable advantage to them over ores with a less per centage of iron, for they are proportionately more economical to use in the furnace, as they require less fuel for their reduction. In a time of ordinary prosperity of the iron market, any of the other ores can be profitably and successfully used. Limestone for use as flux will have to be brought from upper Green or Barren river. It occurs at many places there in heavy deposits immediately on the bank of the stream, and can be quarried and placed in barges very cheaply. It is probable that seventy-five cents per ton will cover the cost of the limestone at the furnace. Su 2 REPORT UPON THE The limestone required will not exceed twenty-five per cent. of the ore used, and may be less, as the Black-band ore, although lean, contains a considerable proportion of lime and other bases and will partly flux itself. There is a lime- stone four to five feet thick forming the roof of the No. i coal; but it is somewhat earthy, and at places quite sulphur- ous. It was tried during the former campaign of the furnace, but soon abandoned, and its place supplied with limestone from the mouth of Gasper Creek, on Barren river. This, as will be seen by the following analysis, is a nearly pure lime- stone of excellent quality: Alumina and oxide of iron ...................... . . 0.0917 Carbonate of lime of............. . 93.020 Carbonate of magnesia.... 2..gs Phosphoric acid........... . .243 Sulphuric acid. .64 Silica and insoluble silicates .2.760 Water and loss .368 We have shown the number of alternatives possible to the furnace in the matter of an iron ore supply: let us look for a moment at the corresponding advantages for fuel. Suppose No. I 2 Coal should prove too thin to work, and the No. I I not of as good quality as needed. The great shaft stands open, the boiler, winding drum, and engine for oper- ating it are ready to be put in operation, in a short time, to give access to the two coals below the drainage. Suppose on trial neither of these proves a suitable fuel for iron making; Airdrie Furnace is only twenty miles by water from the well- known Mud River mines, the coal from which is among the best (if not the best) in the Green River country. That this will make iron raw, there is little doubt. A barge load of it was taken to St. Louis a few years since and tried very successfully in one of the Kingsland (now Vulcan) Company's furnaces. These mines are on slack-water, and can be reached from Airdrie at all times of the year. The excellent quality of coal can be seen from the following analysis by D)r. Peter and Mr. Talbutt. The sample was a carefully taken average from all parts of the seam by myself: 182 22 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. MUD RIVER COAL. Moisture..... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. 3.80 Volatile combustible matter...... .. .. .... . .. .. 32-70 Fixed carbon...... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 58 Ck 8 Ash. 490j Coe 83.50. Sulphur...... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. 1.929 Specific gravity .. .. . .. ........ . . ........ x.221 Yet another alternative remains to Airdrie Furnace. Its situation on the bank of Green river is such that it can be cheaply and easily supplied with charcoal in case the manu- facture of charcoal iron should be desirable. Large portions of the valley of Green river are an almost unbroken forest, both above and below the furnace. Timber for the manufacture of charcoal can be purchased along the river at very small prices, and sometimes can be had for the clearing. This can either be rafted to the furnace, and there made into charcoal in ovens, or it can be charred on the ground and carried to the furnace in barges. In either case it can be furnished there cheaply enough for the manufacture of charcoal iron at a profit in the ordinary stage of the mar- ket. We see, therefore, that Airdrie furnace is so fortunately situated as to be able to command, at reasonable prices, at any of which, in the ordinarily prosperous condition of the iron market, iron can be made at a profit: Ore from four different regions. Coal from four different beds at the furnace. The Mud River coal. Charcoal. Such advantages as these, it can be truly said, are unsur- passed, and they render it certain, beyond reasonable doubt, that, with proper management, Airdrie Furnace can be made one of the most successful in the country. Having thus considered in detail the resources of this prop- erty, and seen the remarkable advantages it possesses for obtaining fuel and cheap and varied supplies of ores, the I83 23 REPORT UPON THE question naturally presertts itself: why, then, with all these advantages, was the furnace no more successful on its former trial This is a serious and important question, for the reproach of failure laid against an enterprise of this kind outweighs many advantages. Into the answer a number of reasons enter, and to render them properly understood it will be necessary to go into the history of the former campaign of the furnace in some detail, and to refer to the management of the enterprise in language which is unmistakable, although it may seriously reflect upon the business sagacity of some persons once connected with it who are no longer living. It should be premised that the information upon which the following ac- count is based was obtained partly from the books of the furnace and partly from men who were on the ground, con- nected with the furnace in various capacities. The enterprise seems to have been conceived by its pro- prietor in a spirit in which benevolence, national pride, and the desire for a profitable investment, were strangely mingled. Being a Scotchman, and having some knowledge of iron man- ufacture as practiced in Scotland, he not unnaturally believed men of that nationality to be the most competent and desir- able persons to conduct establishments for iron making. He therefore committed from the beginning the serious mistake of employing almost exclusively newly-arrived for- eigners, men who, however competent at home, were without any knowledge of American prices and metallurgical practice. or experience with American ores and fuel. Having found what was firmly believed to be the equivalent of the celebrated Scotch Black-band iron ore, and an associ- ate coal which it was thought could be used raw in the furnace, he proceeded to erect a furnace modeled after the Scotch pat- tern. He brought over large numbers of Scotch miners and furnace men, and employed them almost exclusively; giving them to understand, it is reported, that it was to improve their condition, rather than in hopes of great returns, that he had made the investment. He employed as superintendent and 184 24 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. manager an uneducated, dissipated Scotchman, a man wholly unfit to fill so important and responsible a position, and to him he gave almost entire charge of the whole enterprise, often not visiting the property for months at a time. Under such conditions, it is no wonder that there was mis- management, and that ill-advised expenditures were made. For three years, while the slow process of development was going on, the furnace and machinery erected, entries driven, and the great shaft, five and a half by eighteen feet, sunk to a depth of four hundred and thirty feet in search of a mythical ore (known to exist fifteen miles distant and nowhere be- tWeen), the proprietor continued uncomplainingly to increase his investment. At last the furnace was started. It ran a few days very unsuccessfully, producing iron of a poor quality and in small amount, when an accident to the boiler compelled it to be blown out. Repairs were made in due time and the furnace again started. The working was no better than before, and the iron not improved in quality or quantity. In twenty-two days from the time of starting the saddle-plate of the walking- beam broke, disabling the engine and compelling the furnace to be shoveled out. Again it started, and again, after a short run, no more successful than the last, an accident happened to the engine, the cast-iron shaft of the fly-wheel broke, and once more the furnace was shoveled out. In all three of these unfortunate campaigns the furnace was not in blast altogether more than six weeks or two months. After the last blast the manager concluded that the coal did not work well raw, and so made a large amount of coke from it to be tried at the next blast, but the next blast never came; the proprietor's patience was exhausted; he stopped opera- tions entirely, discharged his men, and shut up the mines and furnace. Since that time (November, 1857) the furnace has never been in operation. The No. i i Coal has been worked largely z8S 25 REPORT UPON THE for shipment to the Southern market, but beyond that the property has been lying idle and unproductive. The closing of the furnace at that time was a mistake no less serious than some committed in starting it. The man- ager was beginning to learn, by the only method by which a so-called practical, uneducated man can learn-his own dear-bought experience-that American ores and fuel are not exactly like the Scotch, and that different practice is required for their treatment. Had he been allowed to go on, using coke for fuel, it is not unlikely that his next cam- paign would have proved much more successful. It can be truly said that the furnace has never been sub- jected to a fair trial. A total campaign of six weeks or two months, divided into three short blasts, affords no fair basis for judgment as to the merits of furnace, fuel, or ore. The iron made at the furnace was of notoriously poor quality. In order to ascertain to what cause this was due, three samples were procured from the iron remaining at the furnace, the analysis of which, by Dr. Peter and Mr. Talbutt, are herewith appended. The samples are all from a grade of iron variously known as silver gray, burnt iron, or glazed pig. It was impossible to procure samples of any other grade of iron. It is a fine-grained, light-colored iron, extremely weak and brittle. The analyses are as follows: I. 11. III. Iron... . . .. .. . .. .. .. . . . 86.645 85.863 86.842 Graphitic carbon..... .. .. . .. .. . ..900 .400 Combined carbon........ .. .. . .. . . 2.o80 2.570 2.070 Silicon....... .. .. . .. . .. . . 7 7.704 7 747 8.614 Manganese . .. .. 57 .696 .355 Aluminum. .... .. .. .. .202 .274 .136 Calcium......... ......... . . . . . . .072 1.2. 112 Magnesium... .. .. .. .. . .. .. . 3S .017 .o56 Sulphur..... .. .. . .. .. .. .. . .127 .227 .173 Phosphorus......... .. .. . .. .. .. .253 .509 .122 Total.... .. .. .. . .. .. .. . .. .. 98.589 98.415 99.260 186 26 AIRDRIE FURNACE AND PROPERTY. It will be seen that the proportion of sulphur and phospho- rus is quite high in No. 11, but it is probable that the poor quality of the iron is due more to the excessive amount of silicon than to any other cause. The attempt was made to produce a No. I foundry iron by working the furnace hot, and the result was, that with a hot working of the furnace much silicon was reduced with the iron, and rendered it very brittle or "cold-short." Had the man- ager been content to burden his furnace for a -mill iron," working colder, it is probable the product would have been of much greater strength, although, as already stated, it is not unlikely that the Airdrie ore worked alone will always have a tendency to produce a low grade of iron. Hence, the neces- sity for some supply of ore from other sources. That Airdrie Furnace, with some alterations and proper management, can be made to produce iron of good quality, and at a very low price, there is little doubt. In order to this, however, it will be advisable to considerably alter and mod- ernize the furnace. It should be raised ten to fifteen feet in height, in order to give it dimensions better adapted to economical working, and a closed top and down-takes to carry the waste gases to boilers and hot blast added. The posi- tion of the boilers will have to be altered, the smoke-stack raised, new hot-blast ovens erected, or the present ones changed, and a new casting-house built. It will be also advis- able to erect coking-ovens; and, in case the No. ii Coal is used, washing machinery will be required in addition. The total amount required to make all the needed changes, open the mines, and put the furnace in operation, will not ex- ceed 6o,ooo. These changes made, Airdrie Furnace can produce iron, considering its nearness and cheapness of transportation to market, for a less price per ton than any other furnace in Kentucky. We have already shown the cost at which ore and limestone can be supplied at the furnace. We have now to consider the 137 27 REPORT UPON THE cost of fuel, when we will have the material in hand to prove the above statement. Mining the coal and the ore together, the No. 12 Coal can be mined for one dollar per ton, the ore for one dollar and seventy-five cents. Allowing fifty cents per ton as the cost for handling and mine expenses, &c., we have the cost of the coal one dollar and a half per ton. Three tons of coal will make two tons of coke, at a cost for coking of fifty cents per ton. Allowing the large consumption of two tons of coke to the ton of iron, and using one and one eighth tons of Cumberland river ore to one and three fourths tons Airdie ore, the cost per ton of pig iron at the furnace would be: Two tons of coke, at 2 75 per ton....... 5 50 One and three fourths tons of Black-band ore, at x 75 per ton . . . . . 3 o6 One and one eighth tons Cu-berland river ore........ . . 4 78 Roasting two and three fourths tons of ore, at twenty cents per ton. 55 Two thirds of a ton of limestone........ . .......0.. . . . so Labor and superintendence.......... . .. .. . 3 50 Sundries................................ I00 Total estimated cost per ton............. .. . .. .. .. . . 1i 89 The iron can be put in market for from two dollars to three dollars per ton additional. Even supposing all the odds against the furnace, and that the iron produced is of a low grade, yet there would be a profit in- it, even in the present fearfully depressed condition of the iron trade. The demand of the future is for cheap iron. The days of high-priced iron have gone, not to return for months to come, if ever; and, in the struggle for existence, only those furnaces which are favorably located and carefully managed can sur- vive. For such as can produce iron economically and cheaply, there will always be a profitable market, and only for those. To this class Airdrie Furnace certainly belongs. 188 28