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Brownsport Furnace Chronology

By Jeff Kobiske Parks Director, Decatur County Parks Department

 

1000

First iron produced and forged in North America by Vikings in Greenland and northern Newfoundland (Canada)

1543

Survivors of Spanish expedition led by Hernando DeSoto produce first iron forged in future United States (Arkansas)

1621

First blast furnace in British colonies built at Falling Creek, Virginia - destroyed by Native Americans before going into production

1710

Coke is invented in England - used as fuel in iron furnaces

1750

Iron Act, limiting the ability of colonial iron industry to produce finished products, passed by British Parliament

1775

Beginning of the American Revolution

1807

Jefferson enacts U.S. Embargo Act, limiting trade with Britain and France

1815

Congress enacts protective tariffs

1828

Hot blast iron smelting developed in Scotland (preheated air was blown into furnace) producing more iron with less fuel

1837

Bank panic; depressed economy causes major setback to iron industry

1845

Napoleon Hill moves to Brownsport Tennessee as the first president of the Brownsport Iron Co. Starts work building furnace.

1861

Morrill Tariff Act places strict duties upon imported iron and steel; helps Brownsport Furnace continue to produce iron during and after the Civil War

1861-1865

The Civil War; the price of pig iron rises from $30/ton to over $90/ton

   

1874

Paper describing Brownsport Furnace operations was prepared under the direction of the Bureau of Agriculture

1878

Brownsport Furnace ceases operations due to an extensive lawsuit that developed, causing the company to close in 1878

1977

Judge Hardin Smith and the other county leaders begin the process to get the site listed with the The National Register Of Historic Places

1988

Brownsport Furnace Was Listed with The National Register Of Historic Places

2002

County Mayor Kenneth Broadway begins clean up and restoration work at Brownsport Furnace in hopes of preserving the county’s heritage and developing more tourism

Present

Visitors tour the Decatur County Brownsport Furnace National Historic Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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