Catoctin Mountain Range ... Cunningham Falls Park -- Manor Area ...
Catoctin Iron Furnace
This is a re-creation of a Civil War era iron furnace named Isabella. Here you can see me inspecting a tuyere arch, an opening in the furnace that allowed access to the inner crucible for purposes of blowing air in so that the furnace would burn and reduce the iron ore at a higher temperature.
During the Civil War, the demand for iron was so great, that the nearby mountains were totally denuded of trees for the making of charcoal for the furnaces. The forests we enjoy today only exist because of replanting and conservation efforts.
This is a closeup of the tuyere arch, showing the air input at the top. In operation it would have been connected to a nozzle inserted into the bottom of the crucible.
This is a cast arch, which allowed workers to access the inside of the crucible to drain off the molten iron and slag. The molten iron was known as pig iron, because it was drained into a main sluice in the floor, as in this picture, which then drained into side "piglets" to form pig iron ingots, looking like a mother sow nursing her piglets.
The "casting house" was an open building protecting the area around the cast arch, where the pig iron could be further processed.
This is the ruins of the furnace masters house. He lived in luxury, but his workers generally did not.
This old iron bridge was built in the nineteenth century. If you cross it and follow the path on the other side, you can go to the Manor Area Visitors Center.