Index

Pictures

Joanna Furnace Side View of Furnace Air Chute Cover Air Pump
Joanna Furnace Side View of Furnace Air Chute Cover Air Pump
Tie Rods Front of Furnace Iron Work Retention Bar
Tie Rods Front of Furnace Iron Work Retention Bar
Joanna Furnace & Engine House Blacksmiths House Office Store Stables
Joanna Furnace & Engine House Blacksmiths House Office Store Stables
Rear of Charcoal House Side View of Charcoal House Front of Charcoal House
Outside the Furnace Outside the Furnace Outside the Furnace

Description

Joanna Furnace was built in 1791 and was named after Joanna Holland Potts, wife of principal owner. The furnace went out of blast in 1898 after the death of L. Heber Smith. The furnace was a cold blast, charcoal iron furnace. In the late 1850's, the furnace was converted from water power to steam.

The Hay Creek Historical Organization has done an amazing job restoring the site. Significant work remains, as can be noted by the pictures. The cupola is being rebuilt, along with the charging area to the right of the furnace. Additionally, the wheel wrights building is noted by a sign, but does not currently exist. They have managed to rebuild most of the other site structures, including the stables, office, casting house, and blacksmiths building.

It is believed that Joanna Furnace produced castings in addition to plain pig iron. The pig iron would probably been poured to the front of the furnace, while the castings would have been diverted into the pouring house located to the right of the furnace.

The furnace has extensive original ironwork, utilized to hold the stone stack together through the intense heat. Additionally, the metal work on the air pumps and related air chute is unique among historical furnaces. This is the first air pump encountered of this style.

The original charcoal house burned down in 1856. The house was rebuilt and enlarged at this time. This is the first charcoal house found that was made from brick, rather than being a simple pole barn. The fire in the charcoal house was very common among early iron furnaces, as the embers from the charcoal could ignite, jeapordizing the entire storage area. Fires among the charcoal pits, the transporting wagons, and the storage sheds were quite common. More information on Charcoal Production can be located at this linked page.

First Visited: 3Q 2002

History

Start of Operation: 1791

Blowout: 1898

Daily Tonnage: ?

Built By: Samuel Potts, Thomas Bull, Thomas May, and Thomas Rutter III. Other owners over the years included Thomas Bull Smith, John Smith, Levi Bull Smith, William Darling, and L. Heber Smith

Stack: 30 feet (increased to 45 feet in 1889)

Blast: Cold

Type: Charcoal

Directions

Joanna Furnace is located just north of Joanna, PA. Take Route 10 north. At the bottom of the hill, a sign marks the RH turn to the furnace site. The group renovating Joanna operates a website at Haycreek Organization, or mail them at Hay Creek Valley Historical Association, P.O. Box 36, Geigertown, PA 19523.

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