The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
The Colonies
Water Wheel
For more than a century, Pennsylvania was the ironmaking center of America.  The state led both the colonies and the nation in iron production, largely due to its natural resources: abundant iron ore deposits, vast forests that provided charcoal, numerous coal beds for additional fuel, limestone deposits, and rivers for water power.  Sizable and growing markets for iron also existed.

Pennsylvania’s iron and steel history began in 1716 and for the next century, the state’s iron industry experienced a time of rapid expansion and a rising demand for iron products.  The industry grew until the American colonies became one of the world’s largest iron producers.