Chapter 09
Morris Co. Up

History of Morris County, New Jersey with Illustrations, and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers, 1739-1882; New York: W.W. Munsell & CO., 1882.


THE act of Parliament passed in 1749, already alluded to, was intended to prevent the construction of any slitting or rolling mills in the province, and continued in force until the time of the Revolution. Every mill built while this law was in force had to be built covertly. In spite of the law, however, a slitting-mill was erected at Old Boonton, by David OGDEN or his son Samuel OGDEN, about the year 1770. In a deed given for it in 1805 the "slitting-mill lot" was said to have been conveyed to Samuel OGDEN by Thomas PEER by deed dated August 6th 1770, and this was probably the date of its erection. The OGDENs had by this time sold out their Ringwood property to the London Company and turned their attention to Morris county.

For the purpose of concealment the mill built by the OGDENs was so constructed that the upper part was a grist-mill, while the slitting works were underneath. It stood on the east side of the river; and the shape of the ground, which rose abruptly from near the river's edge, made the erection of such a building very feasible. The entrance to the mill was from the hillside, and in the room thus entered was the run of stones for grinding grain; and it was so arranged that the room below could be closed up entirely, and upon little warning, so as to give no sign of the purpose for which it was used. An Englishman named CAMPSEN, one of the ancestors of the RIGHTER family at Parsippany, was the architect. It is said that Governor William FRANKLIN visited this place, having been informed that one of the prohibited mills was being carried on here by stealth. Colonel OGDEN received the governor and his suite with great hospitality, and insisted on their dining immediately on their arrival. This the governor's party were not unwilling to do, as they had made a long and fatiguing journey. At the table, which was lavishly spread, choice liquors circulated freely; and the governor was not only unable to find any "slitting-mill" in Boonton, but indignant at the "unfounded slander." It was reported that FRANKLIN had an interest in it himself, which might account for his not seeing too much.

The mill was probably a small affair. At its best it was only an apology for an iron-mill, as they could only roll out bars of iron or slit them from the sizes drawn by the forgemen. Their heating furnace was designed to use dry wood, so that nothing better than a red heat could be produced, "leaving the rods or hoops when rolled or slit about as red as a fox," as one said who had seen the mill in operation. It was carried on by the OGDENs in connection with a forge and other works through the war and until 1784. In 1778 Samuel OGDEN advertises in the New Jersey Gazette rod and sheet iron for sale at Boonton. It seems that Samuel OGDEN was the principal owner, as his name most frequently occurs in connection with it; but Isaac OGDEN and Nicholas HOFFMAN each owned a sixth interest, which was bought May 1st 1784 by Samuel OGDEN from Abraham KITCHEL, agent for Morris county, on inquisition found January 1st 1777 against Isaac OGDEN, and September 21st 1777 against HOFFMAN, they having joined the army of the king. KITCHEL conveys as the property of each of these loyalists one-sixth of the slitting-mill, rolling-mill, coalhouses, dwelling-houses, raceways, dams, etc., and speaks of a forge--the property of Samuel OGDEN. The same year, 1784, March 1st, Samuel OGDEN of New York, merchant, leases to John Jacob FAESCH, of Mount Hope, the moiety of several tracts at Boonton for twenty-one years, under an arrangement that they should jointly erect a "four-fire forge and forge hammers with a trip hammer at the place where the old forge, which is now pulled down, at Boonton aforesaid, formerly stood," the management of the forge and also of the grist-mill to be joint. The rent reserved was 50 New York currency in silver or gold, reckoning Spanish milled dollars at 8 shillings each and English guineas at 37 shillings and 4 pence each. Wood was to be furnished for the supply of "said forge, and other iron manufactories to be carried on at Boonton by the parties," off the premises of said OGDEN at nine pence per cord.

October 8th 1805, on the expiration of this lease, Samuel OGDEN and Euphemia his wife, of Newark, conveyed to John Jacob FAESCH and Richard B. FAESCH, the sons of John Jacob FAESCH sen., who had died in 1799, the whole property at Boonton. They carried on the business but a short time, and the works, with the exception of the forge, which continued to be operated by John Righter, then its owner, until a comparatively recent date, were suffered to fall into disuse.

Thomas C. WILLIS, of Powerville, whose father was superintendent of the heating furnace at Old Boonton in 1800, and who was himself born there, said that in his childhood there were at Old Boonton, on the easterly bank of the river, a rolling-mill, a slitting-mill and a saw-mill. The iron used in these mills was taken from the heating furnaces, rolled and slitted on a single heat. On the westerly bank of the river, near the bend, were a large potash factory, a nail-cutting factory, a grist-mill and a blacksmith shop. On the same side, opposite the slitting-mill, stood a large bloomary, containing four fires and two trip hammers. A large building containing eight refining furnaces stood upon the spot where the forge afterward stood.

Another gentleman, whose memory reaches back almost as far, says that there were three dams across the river below the present road and one above.


The second slitting-mill in the county was built at Speedwell, by Jacob ARNOLD and John KINNEY, about the time of the Revolutionary war. It is impossible to fix the date more exactly. In the New Jersey Gazette, published in 1778, is notice of ARNOLD, KINNEY & Co. opening a store in Morristown, "next door to Colonel Henry REMSEN's," showing the partnership to have existed at that date. Both men had been and were prominent in the county. ARNOLD kept the hotel in Morristown where, in January 1777, WASHINGTON took up his winter quarters, and which is still standing, on the northwest side of the public square. He commanded, as has been stated, the troop of horse known as "ARNOLD's light horse," a detachment of which did duty as guard for Governor LIVINGSTON. KINNEY had been sheriff of the county, and had had some experience in the iron business. The venture was a perfect failure. It is said that after the whole had been constructed, through some defect which they could not remedy, the machinery entirely failed to do its work. The debts contracted in its erection pressed the partners and the property was sold. Enoch Beach, as coroner (ARNOLD being sheriff) sold the interest of Jacob ARNOLD January 11th 1796 to Dr. Timothy JOHNES, who sold to Stephen VAIL in 1807. The interest of KINNEY had also been sold, and a deed from James C. CANFIELD and wife to Stephen VAIL in 1814 for this half speaks of all the new buildings which Stephen VAIL, William CAMPFIELD and Isaac CANFIELD have erected since the deed to VAIL in 1807, viz.: trip-hammer works, blacksmith shop, coal house, turning shop, etc. From the ruin of a second partnership Stephen VAIL came out the owner of the whole property at Speedwell, and under his management it became an important manufactory. The work done here has been mostly for the southern and South American trade, in the shape of sugar-mills, coffee hullers, etc. It if said the boiler of the first ocean steamer that crossed the Atlantic was forged here and the first cast-iron plow made in America was made here. In 1853 the Speedwell iron works were being carried on by Hon. George VAIL, son of Judge Stephen VAIL, and Isaac A. CANFIELD, grandson of the judge, and were visited by Dr. TUTTLE, who wrote a description of them for the New York Tribune.

At that time there was made at the works a great variety of articles--press screws, car wheels and axles, mill machinery, etc. Six moulders were employed in the foundry, eight men in the blacksmith shop, ten in the machine shops, and these with other laborers made up an aggregate of forty-five, whose wages would amount to some $14,400 per annum. The works used then annually 200 tons of anthracite coal, 100 tons of bituminous coal, 100 tons of Scotch pig and 100 tons of American pig, 95 tons wrought iron, 1,400 pounds of cast steel and 1,000 pounds of brass, copper, etc. The annual product was estimated at $50,000. Judge VAIL died in 1864, leaving these works to his executors in such a manner that they cannot be sold and can only be operated by certain persons who are named. For this or for some other reason they have lain idle for several years.


The third slitting or rolling-mill erected in the county was at Dover. In 1792 Israel CANFIELD and Jacob LOSEY, forming the well-known firm of CANFIELD & LOSEY, bought from Josiah BEMAN his forge, etc. Soon afterward they built the dam where it is now, and erected the forge which was standing until within a few years, when the building was transferred to other use. They built also a rolling and slitting-mill after the model of the Old Boonton mill, and heated their iron with wood in the same way. Soon after the erection of their rolling-mill they built a factory for cutting nails, the heading of which was done in dies by hand. Besides the property in Dover they purchased and leased large quantities of land, mines and forges, and carried on the iron business on what was then considered a grand scale. It must be remarked, however, that while business flourished in Dover the place was notorious for its infidelity and consequent wickedness. Many of its prominent citizens were open adherents of Tom Paine, and they gloried in disseminating his sentiments among all classes.

In 1817 the firm of CANFIELD & LOSEY failed, and BLACKWELL & McFARLAN, iron merchants of New York, who were creditors of the concern, purchased the whole property. With the iron works passed also nearly the whole site of Dover, the Longwood forge and tract, and the mines which the old firm had developed. The village of Dover was laid out by Messrs. BLACKWELL & McFARLAN as it is at present--on either side of the straight, wide street called BLACKWELL street, with other streets, named after the counties, crossing it at right angles. From an advertisement of the company in a newspaper published in 1827 it appears that the iron works, then in full operation, consisted of three rolling-mills and two chain cable shops. Jacob LOSEY was the resident agent of the company, the members of which still lived in New York.

To the firm of BLACKWELL & McFARLAN succeeded as owner of the Dover property Henry McFARLAN, son of Henry McFARLAN sen., one of the members of the old firm. Dr. TUTTLE visited the works in 1853, and gives us this statement of the business done for the year ending April 1st of that year: Octagon bars rolled into rivet rods 3/8 to 3/4 inch; round and various sizes of merchant iron, 392 1/2 tons; boiler rivets made from the above, 735,746 pounds, a little more than 328 tons; anthracite coal consumed, 1,000 tons. The octagon iron was worth $55 per ton, making the raw material used worth $21,287. The coal cost about $4,300. The amount of wages paid was about $11,000, among twenty-five hands, and the product of the whole work was valued at $50,000.

In addition to the rolling-mill and rivet factory Mr. McFARLAN had furnaces for converting Swedes and English iron into steel. The following is the list for the year above specified: Converted and rolled into spring steel from Swedes and English iron, 1,000 tons; toe cork or shoeing steel, 32 3/4 tons; American bar steel, 16 tons.

The superintendent of the works, who furnished to Dr. TUTTLE this information, was Guy M. HINCHMAN. He was born in Elmira, N. Y., November 29th 1795. In 1810 he removed to Morris county, taking up his residence at Succasunna. When only 23 years of age he was the owner and operator of the Mount Pleasant mine. From 1823 to 1834 he was engaged in business in New York, after which he returned to Dover, where he spent the remainder of his life, acting as superintendent of the iron works until 1869, when Mr. McFARLAN ceased to operate them. He was a man of great activity, a kind-hearted, courtly gentleman of the old school, yet keeping pace with and aiding in all social and public improvements. He died February 13th 1879, retaining all his faculties until the last.

Henry McFARLAN drove the mill from 1830, when his father died, to 1869. He leased the property in 1875 to Wynkoop & O'Conner, who ran it only a short time, claiming that the raising of a dam below the mill by the Morris Canal Company had so far affected the power of the mill as to render it comparatively useless. This question is now and has been for several years in the courts. In 1880 Mr. McFARLAN sold the mills, and they are now operated by the Dover Iron Company, who have put in steam engines and are driving the works with vigor. Hon. George Richards is the president of the company, and under his efficient management the works give employment to a large number of operatives and turn out large quantities of fish plates and other railroad material.


January 26th 1822 Colonel Joseph JACKSON and his brother William entered into an agreement to build a rolling-mill on the colonel's land in Rockaway, to be driven by water from an extension of the lower forge dam. This agreement was to continue for twenty-one years, when the colonel was to have the mill at its appraised value. The brothers had previously rented a mill in Paterson, and William JACKSON made the following memorandum:

"The first bar of round and square iron ever rolled in this county was done by Colonel Joseph JACKSON and myself, in the old rolling-mill at Paterson, then owned by Samuel and Roswell COLT, in the year 1820, under our contract to furnish the United States government with a certain quantity of rolled round and hammered iron at the navy yard at Brooklyn, N. Y., in which we succeeded to the entire satisfaction of the government. Our experiments at rolling round and square iron induced us to build the rolling-mill at Rockaway in 1821 and 1822. Messrs. BLACKWELL & McFARLAN, owners of the Dover rolling-mill and forge, seeing our success. proceeded to alter and rebuild their rolling-mill for rolling all kinds of iron, which they completed about the same time. We finished our rolling-mill in November 1822."

In 1826 William sold out to his brother his interest and commenced the erection of the forge, furnace, etc., at Clinton. Left the sole owner of the mill Colonel JACKSON proceeded to extend his operations, and developed a large iron business. He was already or soon after became the owner of the two forges with five fires at Rockaway, and of the Swedes, Teabo and Jackson mines. In 1830 he built a second mill upon the same dam. He expended money liberally but with judgment in new machinery, and in experiments to test the qualities of the various ores and the best methods of working them. His works were a market for the various forges in the county, and the finished product was mostly carted to tide water by his teams, which returned with supplies. The Morris Canal, during the boating season, brought anthracite coal from the Lehigh Valley; but so long as he continued his business his teams were on the road between Rockaway and Newark. He built a steel furnace near the canal, in which blistered steel was made from the iron bars. He was a man of great enterprise and determination, and continued to carry on his mill through the various vicissitudes of the iron business until 1852, when he sold the mill, lower forge and steel furnace properties to Freeman WOOD.

Mr. WOOD proceeded to enlarge the mill, putting in steam engines, etc. February 12th 1855 the Rockaway Manufacturing Company was organized, its incorporators being Freeman WOOD, George Hand SMITH, Lyman A. CHANDLER, Theodore T. WOOD and Nathaniel MOTT. The property was transferred to it August 14th the same year. This company made a bad failure a few years after, and the Morris County Bank, one of the principal creditors, became the real owner of the mills as mortgagee. By the bank the property was rented to James HORNER, who manufactured steel there until just after the war, when he removed his business to Pompton. November 3d 1862 Theodore LITTLE, as master in chancery, conveyed the property to John H. ALLEN, who, February 27th following, conveyed it to Thomas E. ALLEN and Israel D. CONDIT. They ran it a couple of years, when Mr. ALLEN conveyed his half to his partner, Mr. CONDIT. Mr. CONDIT has been the owner ever since, with the exception of two or three years, when it was owned by Adoniram B. JUDSON, the deed to him being dated January 19th 1867 and the deed back to Mr. CONDIT, which was made by the sheriff, being dated February 13th 1871. Mr. JUDSON operated the works under the name of the Judson Steel and Iron Works, himself, James L. BALDWIN and George NEIMUS being the incorporators. The incorporation act was approved February 26th 1868. The concern is now being operated by the American Swedes Iron Company, organized in August 1881, which is using WILSON's process for the manufacture of wrought iron directly from the ore, which is obtained from Block Island. The history of the works for the last eighteen years has been that of unsuccessful experiment for the most part--many new processes for making iron and steel having been attempted without profitable results. C. T. RAYNOLDS, H. R. RAYNOLDS and Colonel G. W. THOMPSON are the principal men in the present company.


This mill, which was early owned by Colonel William SCOTT, whose name has been frequently mentioned, was carried on by him until his death, when it fell in the division of his estate to his son Elijah D. SCOTT. By him it was in part devised and in part deeded to Thomas C. WILLIS, who carried it on until his death, in 1864, in connection with his forge. Dr. TUTTLE, in his review of the iron manufactures of the county in 1853, speaks of the admirable economy with which it was conducted. Perhaps no mill in the county at that time paid better interest on the capital invested, which Mr. WILLIS estimated at $50,000. The profitableness of the concern was owing to the careful management and also to the kind of iron made, which was mostly hoop iron, then very profitable. It was estimated that the mill used about 500 tons of blooms a year, of coal 600 tons, and the product in hoop and rod iron was about 450 tons, which averaged at that time $100 per ton. Mr. WILLIS was a man deservedly popular with all who had dealings with him and highly esteemed and respected throughout the county.

The mill is now owned principally by Benjamin F. HOWELL, the son-in-law of Mr. WILLIS, who leases the forge for the manufacture of scrap blooms. The rolling-mill is not at present in operation.



In 1830 the New Jersey Iron Company, incorporated under an act of the Legislature dated November 7th 1829 (the incorporators being William GREEN jr., Apollos R. WETMORE and David W. WETMORE), commenced the erection of the extensive iron works at Boonton two miles above the old slitting-mill of the OGDENs. These have grown to be by far the largest and most complete in the county. At first the works were under the supervision and management of Messrs. GREEN and WETMORE, who were large iron dealers in New York; afterward of William GREEN and Lyman DENNISON, forming the firm of Green & Dennison. The whole village with the exception of one store and two or three dwelling houses belonged exclusively to the company. In the beginning most of the works were under one roof. They consisted, says Isaac S. LYON in his sketch of the town, of a rolling-mill, a number of puddling and heating furnaces, an old fashioned trip-hammer, a slitting machine and a small foundry. They were mostly engaged in the manufacture of sheet, hoop and bar iron. There was a refinery also, below, on the bank of the river.

There was a small furnace built in 1833, which was first lighted by the ladies residing at the agent's house, on the afternoon of February 27th 1834. What is now called No. 1 furnace, which uses anthracite coal, was built about 1848. The furnace of 1833 was of course a charcoal furnace; for George CRANE of Yniscedwin iron works, in Wales, did not bring his experiments with anthracite to success until 1838, the difficulty being in all previous trials that only a cold blast had been used. In the March 1838 number of the Journal of the American Institute the editor says in a note: "A sample has been shown us of good iron made solely by means of anthracite coal. It is the result of a long course of experiments, as we are informed." The next number of the journal contains a report from Mr. CRANE of his successful work.

David THOMAS was with Mr. CRANE in Wales, and as his agent came to this country and started the Crane iron works, at Catasauqua, Pa. His son Samuel THOMAS superintended the erection of the Boonton furnace until he left it to build the Thomas Iron Company's furnaces at Hokendauqua, when he was succeeded by George JENKINS, who continued till his death at Boonton in charge of the furnaces.

For some reason the New Jersey Iron Company failed, and its property was sold by the sheriff July 19th 1852. The stockholders lost every cent of their investment, but every debt due to outsiders was fully paid. The purchaser was Dudley B. FULLER, the principal creditor, to whom it is said the company owed $165,000. Mr. FULLER some time after took into partnership with him James Cowper LORD, forming the firm of Fuller & Lord. This firm continued to own and operate the works until the firm was dissolved by the death of Mr. FULLER, which occurred in 1868. Mr. LORD died in 1869. The works were carried on a short time by the executors of the deceased partners, but at length, in 1876, the whole interest was purchased by the estate of J. Cowper LORD, which is still the owner.

In 1853, when Dr. TUTTLE visited these works, they were being operated by Fuller & Lord. The rolling-mill and puddling furnaces covered more than an acre of ground exclusive of the large nail and spike factory, the coopering mill and the blast furnace, then recently built. The Morris Canal and Rockaway River at Boonton run nearly parallel, and both make a rapid descent to the plains below. The canal by an inclined plane and locks makes a difference of 100 feet between its upper and lower levels, and the river falls a still greater distance in a series of cascades. These circumstances have been made the most of by the builders of the works which lie between the two. The coal, ore and limestone are taken from the upper level of the canal to the top of the furnace; while the iron product passing through the puddling, rolling, heating and nail mills, is put up in kegs, made on the ground from the unsawed timber, and is ready for shipment by the side of the canal at its lower level. The water from the river and the waste water of the canal furnish motive power. William G. LATHROP was then the general manager, and his long experience made the business profitable and constantly increasing during the lives of the two partners.

From October 1st 1852 to May 1st 1853, a period of seven months, the following statistics show the extent of their operations: Pig iron puddled, 3,774 tons; nail plate, rolled, 3,000 tons; spike rods rolled, 885 tons; scrap iron used, 784 tons; ore used in the puddling furnaces, 1,000 tons; anthracite coal consumed, 5,656 tons; amount of wages disbursed, about $36,000. During the same period six spike machines, employing 22 men and boys, made 1,874,000 pounds or 836 tons of iron spikes; 73 nail machines, worked by 100 hands, produced 56,179 casks of nails, of 100 pounds each, making a total of 2,800 tons. At the cooper shop casks were made at the rate of 120,000 per annum. The whole establishment, including blast furnace, etc., gave employment to 400 hands, whose annual wages amounted to $120,000.

A correspondent of Harper's Monthly (J. R. CHAPIN), in the July 1860 number of that magazine, gives a very graphic and correct description of the Boonton works as they then were, and substantially as they had been for the seven years previous. Up to that time there had been expended on the works about half a million of dollars. In 1864 the number of kegs of nails turned out was 173,000, then considered a larger product than that of any similar establishment in the United States. Just before the war the owners commenced the erection of the second blast furnace, which was completed after the war closed. In 1872-3 the works touched the highest point of their prosperity. There were then two blast furnaces, whose yearly capacity was 20,000 tons, under the management of George JENKINS, in which the concern continued until his death, when he was succeeded by his son H. C. JENKINS; the large mill, under Philip WOOTEN, was 375 by 275 feet in size and contained 12 double puddling furnaces, one scrap furnace, five trains of rolls, two squeezers, four nut machines, etc., etc. The upper nail factory, under James HOLMES, contained 100 nail machines, producing 250,000 kegs of nails per annum. The lower nail factory, which was in charge of Nathaniel JONES and which commenced in 1855, contained 25 machines and produced 10,000 kegs of nails per annum. In 1875 this mill contained 50 machines, with a capacity of 30,000 kegs per annum, but of a smaller size than those made at the upper mill. The saw-mill, in charge of George M. GAGE, turned out about 3,000,000 staves and 400,000 keg heads per annum. At the cooper shop, of which Amzi BURROUGHS was the superintendent, the staves and heads were put up ready to be filled with nails. A new foundry built in 1857 turned out about 400 tons of castings each year, making all that were required for the uses of the other mills, etc. It was under the superintendence of Paul GLOVER. G. W. EATON was outside superintendent and Henry W. CRANE had charge of the transportation. The whole establishment was thoroughly organized and complete in itself. Over 700 men and boys were given constant employment.

The panic of 1873, occurring as it did shortly after the death of the two partners, brought about a complete stagnation of business. This was too large a concern to be operated by any one man of less than enormous capital. The owners of the property could not agree upon a suitable rent with any tenant who might be disposed to undertake it, so that except from 1873 to 1876, when it was run by the sons of Dudley B. FULLER, and a short time in 1880, when one furnace was in blast, the works have lain idle. The town, depending upon this single industry, suffered terribly at first in the loss of its citizens and the depreciation of property; but silk mills and other industries have since been set on foot which have restored to the place something of its former prosperity.


So far as railroad and canal facilities are concerned Port Oram is that place in the county best adapted for the manufacture of iron. The Morris Canal and the Morris and Essex Railroad pass through the place and the Mount Hope and Chester branches terminate here. In addition to these within the last year the High Bridge branch of the Central of New Jersey, and the Dover and Rockaway road, connecting with the Hibernia Railroad, have made this their junction. It is a place which has grown up almost entirely since the war, and is named from Robert F. ORAM, who laid it out.

The Port Oram Iron Company was incorporated March 31st 1868, its incorporators being John C. LORD, Robert F. ORAM, William G. LATHROP, C. D. SCHUBARTH, James H. NEIGHBOUR, W. H. TALCOTT, J. Cowper LORD, Henry DAY and Theodore F. RANDOLPH, and the possible capital $300,000. Nearly all these gentlemen were connected in some way with the owners of the Boonton iron works, who also owned the Mount Pleasant and other mines in the immediate neighborhood. The furnace was much larger than either of the ones at Boonton, its capacity being 150,000 tons yearly. It cost with the land and improvements over $200,000, and was built in the years 1868 and 1869. It was first put in blast August 27th 1869 by its owners, but May 4th 1872 Ario PARDEE leased the furnace for four years, and during that time it was in very successful operation. During the last year in which it was run it produced nearly 13,000 tons of iron.

The company originally issued stock to the amount of $150,000, which was entirely consumed in the construction of the furnace and it became necessary to raise $100,000 additional; this was done by issuing bonds to that amount, taken almost entirely by the stockholders. In January 1877 the furnace was sold under foreclosure of the mortgage given to secure these bonds, and bought in for the bondholders, who reorganized under the name of the Port Oram Furnace Company. It is now out of blast.

Besides the furnace there is at Port Oram a forge built in 1877-8 by John HANCE and Robert F. ORAM, where pig iron is rapidly refined by modern and improved machinery. It was started August 5th 1878. The forge is now in operation, employing about 14 hands. The "run-out" connected with the forge has not been in operation recently. In detail, there are here one 6-twier run-out furnace, capable of producing 12 tons per day; four double-tiered fires for making anthracite blooms or blooms from pig iron, the four fires capable of producing 200 tons of blooms per month; and four scrapbloom fires, capable of producing 200 tons per month; all these estimates calculated upon double time, or running day and night. Power is supplied by steam boilers of 80 horse power. The steam hammer has a drop weight of 2,200 pounds, stroke 30 inches. Blast is produced by a double cylinder perpendicular blowing engine, built by Wrin & Brother, Lebanon, Pa., at a cost of $3,200. The capital stock of the company was $50,000, of which $32,000 was expended in the erection of the forge, leaving $18,000 unissued. The officers of the company are as follows: Robert F. ORAM president; John HANCE, vice president; William G. LATHROP, treasurer; Edward HANCE, secretary.


The Chester furnace, situated west of Chester village, was built in 1878 by the Jersey Spiegel Iron Company, for the purpose of making spiegel-eisen out of residuum which is the refuse of franklinite after the zinc is extracted.

The project was abandoned, however, after the completion of the furnace, and in the spring of 1879 it was leased for a term of years to W. J. Taylor & Co., who ran it on iron until the summer of 1880, when the original stack, which was 11 feet bosh and 40 feet high, was found to be too small to be profitable. It was torn down by the lessees and rebuilt 60 feet high and 13 feet bosh, and it is now in successful blast, averaging a production of 240 tons per week red short mill iron, made from Chester sulphur ores after roasting in the Taylor kilns, brand "Jersey." The iron ranks very high as a mill-iron, and is used mainly for sheets and plates, and also as a mixture with poor cold-short English irons--one-third of this iron mixed with two-thirds of Middlesborough pig making a good common iron.


On the north side of the Morris and Essex Railroad, just before reaching Drakesville station from the east, is an iron furnace and smoke stack erected in 1877 by William A. STEPHENS, after a patent of his own. The process consists in introducing the ore, pulverized and heated, from the top of the furnace to the main fires below, and its inventor claimed that he could make a ton of iron with a ton of coal. About twenty tons of iron were manufactured when the furnace was first constructed, but since then it has been lying idle.


Besides the foundries which have been mentioned in connection with furnaces and other iron works there have been several independent establishments. Some of these had but a comparatively short existence. About the year 1835 Joseph C. RIGHTER built one at Rockaway on Berry's Brook, and a little farther up the stream a manufactory for making iron axles. The foundry is still standing, but it has not been used for over twenty years for the purpose for which it was built. It belonged to the late Richard STEPHENS at the time of his death.


In 1845 James FULLER and Mahlon HOAGLAND erected a foundry on the bank of the canal in Rockaway, which was adapted to doing a large business. They had hardly gotten their works in complete order before an unlooked for calamity came upon them. At half-past 10 in the evening of September 18th 1850 a fire broke out which in an hour or two reduced their buildings to ashes. A large quantity of finely pulverized charcoal was in the corner of the foundry, and it is supposed that while the workmen were pouring the molten iron into the moulds some sparks fell into this charcoal, which slowly ignited until it was all aglow and from which fire was communicated to the building. An insurance of $3,500 did little toward making up a loss estimated at $20,000. Sixty hands were thrown out of employment. Fuller & Co. had been filling orders from Nova Scotia and New Mexico. They were then preparing castings for the new planes of the Morris Canal. The fire broke up the firm; Mr. FULLER went to California, and died on his way home. Mr. HOAGLAND remained. Freeman WOOD, purchasing the property, built it over and rented it to Aaron D. BERRY, with whom Mr. HOAGLAND was associated. In 1853 they were employing forty-two hands, and consuming 500 tons of coal and 500 tons of pig iron per annum. More than 100 tons of the castings for the Crystal Palace in New York were made here.

From Mr. WOOD the ownership of the property passed to the Morris County Bank, with the rolling-mill property, and from the bank Mr. HOAGLAND rented for a time and finally purchased. Associated with him in the ownership were Robert F. ORAM and William G. LATHROP. The firm was called the Union Foundry Company, and, though in 1873 Mr. HOAGLAND became the sole owner, the business is still carried on in that name. For several years past the business has been constantly increasing, and throughout the dull times of 1874-7 the works were in constant operation. Heavy rolls etc. are made here for the foreign trade and for all parts of the United States. Here are manufactured also the ore and stone crushers patented by Chas. G. BUCHANAN, which have proved very successful wherever tried. Mr. BUCHANAN has very recently invented a train of magnetic rolls for the separation of ore from its impurities, which it is claimed will make many ores now worthless available for iron-making. The Swedish Iron Company, operating the Rockaway rolling-mill, uses these rolls to purify its sand ore at Block Island.


This company was organized in the year 1868, and has erected its foundry and machine shop on Sussex street in Dover, near the site of the foundry which Mr. McFARLAN sold to Alexander ELLIOTT and which the latter operated until it was destroyed by fire a few years since. It is doing a large business and gives employment to about sixty hands. Much of its work is for the mines in the vicinity of Dover, building pumps, engines, air-compressors, etc. Hon. George RICHARDS is president, William H. LAMBERT treasurer, and D. B. OVERTON superintendent.


This very complete though comparatively small establishment is built on the site of the old Welch forge, near the Bartley station of the High Bridge Railroad. Its machinery is moved by water. William BARTLEY, the proprietor, is the owner of the patent "Bartley water wheel," and his principal business is its manufacture. It is a turbine wheel of great excellence. For power, economy of water and convenience of adjustment it is unsurpassed.

This page was last modified on:  01 January, 2014

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