The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Clay Furnace — 1845
Site Name: Clay Furnace

Location: Mercer County

Dates of Operation: 1845 to 1861

Owners: B.B. Vincent and David Himrod; Sharon Iron Company; Iron Mountain Furnace Company

Historical Significance: The Clay Furnace was one of only a handful of furnaces in Pennsylvania that used raw bituminous coal. The switch from charcoal to coal and coke helped to preserve natural resources. Coal also burned hotter than charcoal, which led to the manufacture of higher quality iron. Clay Furnace was abandoned in 1861, however, because it could not compete with coke-fueled furnaces.