AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Janney Iron Furnace 1863~Alabama
This is a summary of a discussion at a recent meeting of the AlaBenton Genealogical Society in Anniston, Alabama. The Janney Iron Furnace is a local historic attraction. It is located near Ohatchee.
History in the Making
A "Dr. Smith", fleeing advancing Union forces in Tennessee with his 200 slaves, was hired to build the structure. The hand-carved sandstone furnace was completed in 1864.
Janney Iron Furnace was strategically located to exploit natural resources. The Coosa River, less than one mile West, was used for transportation of machinery and any pig iron produced. Clay from the river was used to make brick and mortar.
On November 13, 1863, Union forces under command of General Lowell H.
To smelt iron ore, a constant temperature between 2600-3000F must be maintained 24 hours a day. A steam engine provided a hot blast of air to fuel the fire. The air entered the furnace through side portals called Tuyeres. A reservoir dug by slaves held the water needed to create the steam for this process.
The entire operation was managed by the iron Master and his Company Clerk. A dozen or so people were needed to operate the furnace but over 100 were needed in support roles.