The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
An Important Request for Iron
Charles Lukens' reputation for producing quality iron had attracted the attention of John Elgar, an engineer who hoped to build the first iron-hulled steamboat, the Codorus.

On March 31, 1825, Dr. Lukens received a letter from Elgar requesting a quantity of sheet iron at $140 a ton, specifying, “The iron to be of the best quality and sound, and particularly clean of buckles or bilges that prevent the sheet from lying flat.” Elgar required this iron for a steamboat he had designed for use on the shallow and rocky Susquehanna River. He required hull plates made from the strongest and lightest iron on the market. The Brandywine Iron Works was able to produce the thin, strong iron sheets Elgar needed for the construction of his steamboat.