About 1842, Mathias & Co. built Madison Furnace on the Piney Creek, a few miles above its mouth. (Other sources say it was built in 1836 by Mathiot, Miller & Co., or Mathias & Co.)
Lyon, Shorb & Co. iron furnace was erected on the Licking Creek near Sligo borough, Piney Twp., in 1845. It was named for Sligo, headquarters of the company's iron works near Pittsburgh. Owners of the company were: William M. Lyon (of Pittsburgh), John Patton Lyon (Sligo), Anthy Shorb, and Thomas McCullough (Sligo). Soon after its erection, Lyon, & Shorb, & Co. purchased Madison furnace from Mathias & Co. It was a steam powered cold blast furnace 32' high with 9' bosh, though it changed to hot blast in 1857. The company was fueled by the local charcoal industry.
Madison shipped its iron at Piney in boats. Sligo flowed their metal into "chills", and shipped their iron to Pittsburgh from Crary's Dam at Callensburg. The Sligo and Madison company was the only one to introduce "chills," i. e., iron moulds; all the other furnaces ran their metal into sand.
Produced 1000 tons in 1845 and 1847 and only produced 2500 tons of mill iron out of argillaceous carbonate ores of coal fields nearly in 1856. During the year of 1845, its actual product output was 1,215 Tons, the largest output in its history being 1,555 Tons. Production in 1872 was 3,048 tons. In the History of Pennsylvania, by I. D. Rupp, published in 1847, it states that "the amount of iron annually produced in this county is equal to all the iron manufactured in the different forges in Pennsylvania ninety-five years ago."
The furnace produced 2,400 tons rolling mill iron in 1856. During the same year, Sligo & Madison combined shipped 5,000 tons of iron. The Buchanan wharf, where the pig iron was loaded in the boats for transportation, was located below the furnace. The Prospect wharf was on the east side of the mouth of Licking. Above Crary's Dam, on the south side of the river, was located the Sligo metal wharf, many of the timbers of which are still to be seen. (source: Davis,1877)
The furnace was located following Route 58 from Callensburg east to Sligo. At the western edge of town the highway crosses a bridge. Just over the bridge and to the left of the road there is a large old frame building that at one time was a grist mill. In back of this building is a tall, square, brick chimney for the the old furnace boiler house. Beside this old mill is a Pennzoil bulk plant [ca.1966], the truck loading dock of the Pennzoil plant later covering the furnace site. Where their truck loading rack now is was the site of the old Sligo Furnace. Slag blankets the entire area. The hill, which was the charging bench, still is covered with ore. Mr. Greenawalt, at the bulk plant, said that his grandfather worked at the furnace. He gave us the above information. (source: Sharp & Thomas,1966; PA Iron Works)
Other directions to the Madison location:
(1) Turn north on SR 2007 and follow it to the Clarion River. Just before the river cross the bridge over Piney Creek and turn right on Laurel Road (T420) which runs between this bridge and the bridge over the Clarion River. A little more than a mile out on this road is a bridge on a road to the right crossing back over Piney Creek. The furnace is located on the right side of this road at the far end of the bridge and against the hillside. These are the original s&t directions modified with new road numbers.
(2) Dan Dundon suggests a better route. Turn north on SR2007 and proceed to the village of Shamburg. Turn right and go east and then northeast on Wassum Road to its junction with a road going left over Piney Creek. The furnace ruins are on the left side of this Road before crossing the bridge and against the hillside.
(3) Hank Edenborn visited this site in Aug. 2004 and verified the location, and also suggested a better route. Exit south onto PA68 at Williamsburg exit on I80. Past Williamsburg turn right onto Piney Dam Road (SR3016) and go west to the road to the left and the bridge over Piney Creek as in (1) above. After crossing Piney Creek from the north (routes 1 & 3) go around the guard rail on the right side of the road and follow the millrace to the furnace, about 60 feet off the road and 100 feet from the creek. Only a few stones remain.
GPS Coordinates 41º 10.503'N - 79º 27.035'W.(he-rp-2004)
The firm produced iron at Madison & Sligo until 1871. The iron was taken to Hahn's Ferry at the mouth of Piney Creek for shipment to Pittsburgh in flat boats with 75 to 100 tons of metal. River shipments from Sligo ceased in 1872 and for Madison in 1873 when Allegheny Railroad was introduced to the area.
The Lyon & Shorb & Company had one Stack Tuyere (a nozzle, mouthpiece, or fixture through which the blast is delivered to the interior of a blast furnace, or to the fire of a forge). The stack bosh was 8 ft. 6 inches; stack height of 35 feet. It used steam power to produce close gray iron.(Source: Iron Masters Association,1850).
In 1870, when most local businesses and farmers were averaging an income of a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars in real estate and personal property, Lyon & Shorb and Company reported 100,000 in real estate and 25,000 in personal property.
The lumber industry faced its demise due to the toll the iron furnaces demanded from local supply. It was quickly replaced by coal to fuel the furnaces.
At the place where Sligo Furnace now stands was an open plain, which was supposed by some to be a natural prairie, and by others that the Indians had destroyed the timber to promote the growth of grass, upon which the deer and elk might feed that congregated at that place in consequence of the natural lick that existed there. In this prairie there were from fifteen to twenty acres, and it is said that the first hay ever made in the county was made there by Mr. Delp and Mr. Sanford. Just below there is a place along Licking where the Indians made lead, as the remains of the furnace are said to be still visible. This led many people, of late years, to believe there was lead ore in this vicinity, and many searches have been made without success. (paragraph source: AJ Davis, 1877)
1889: Iron mill hands, August 1889, Sligo., Clarion Co., PA.... Unionism, 700. Source: Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics of Nebraska
1902: The Underwood Mining Company, Sligo, Clarion County, Pa., capital stock, $10,000; directors, G.W. Texter, lumber manufacturers, C.H. Montgomery, W.P. Colwell, of Sligo. Source: American Manufacturer and Iron World, Vol. 71. No. 1., Pittsburgh, Pa., Published July 3, 1902.
A brief description of iron furnace procedures:
Choosing a proper site was extremely important to ensure the success of the furnace. Of course, the four essentials of operation - wood, water, limestone, and iron ore - had to be plentiful and nearby, but topography was an important consideration also. The furnace had to be positioned on relatively flat ground at the base of a hill or ridge so that a bridge (wooden walkway) could be built to the top of the furnace. This was because workmen called "fillers filled the furnace from the top with a "charge of charcoal, limestone, and iron ore. Space had to be provided in the high ground area for the charcoal house and the storage of limestone and ore. Around the base of the furnace, a reasonably level area was needed to accommodate the casting floor.
The basic architecture of nineteenth century charcoal furnaces was that of a truncated stone pyramid. The square bases were typically 25 to 30 feet on a side and 25 to 35 feet high. Stack heights exceeding these values led to excessively heavy charges that crushed the charcoal at the bottom, thus sealing off the air blast to the fire. Most furnaces had two arch openings and sometimes three. The main arch was the casting arch and the other one or two were for the injection of forced air to increase the fire temperature. The outside of the stack was commonly made of large blocks of precisely-cut limestone; the interior was lined with fire brick. Between these two walls was an open space several inches wide filled with clay, coarse mortar, or rubble to protect the limestone exterior from the decomposing effects of the high temperatures within. Most of the stacks were strengthened with reinforcing iron girders, rods, or plates embedded in the walls. Inside the stack, the various levels decreased in size downward toward the "hearth or reservoir at the bottom of the furnace into which the molten iron flowed. The hearth was small (only a few feet in diameter) to concentrate the molten iron to prevent solidification. The narrowing downward of chambers inside the stack supported the major weight of the charge.
Charcoal iron furnaces used a technology called "cold blast. This term denotes the fact that a blast of outside air at normal atmospheric temperature was forced or blown into the fire chamber of the furnace. This was done through one or more openings in the sides of the furnace where nozzle-like fixtures connected by iron pipes to blowing devices where inserted. Flowing water in streams such as Cripple Creek commonly provided the power to drive the bellows or other blowing devices. The creeks were typically dammed and the water diverted to the furnace area to turn the water wheel. Some of the wheels were quite large, measuring up to 24 feet in diameter.
During a period of blast, the iron and slag were tapped off. The "Furnace Man would use a long iron rod to break open the clay door in the hearth, thus allowing the molten iron to flow out onto the casting floor. (The slag was extracted by a similar process but through a clay door above the level of the molten iron.) True pig iron formed when molten iron flowed from the furnace into a casting bed made of sand sculpted to allow the liquid to follow a main trench (the "sow") and then feed into numerous side gutters (the "pigs"). The casting of other items such as pots, pans, skillets, kettles, and stove parts were done using sand molds in the casting shed. Many furnaces also included a forge at which the pig iron was further refined through heating and hammering into bar iron. This bar iron became the source metal from which a blacksmith might fashion wagon tires, horseshoes, hinges, nails, and tools. All told, over a dozen skilled and unskilled laborers, including fillers, furnace men, casting men, a wheelwright, a blacksmith, and sundry other workers, were required to operate a single furnace. Source: Iron Industry during the Civil War
Workers at the Sligo Furnace: According to PA Iron Works Lyon & Shorb employed 75 local men and boys and 40 mules. (Most of the following worker's names obtained through census images. To add your relatives to this list, email me with the information.)
Name, Position, Verified Yr of Employ, & Transcriber Notes
Barr, Samuel - Furnace Manager 1870
Coleman, James - Founderer 1850
Conrad, Moses H. - Helping in Foundry 1880 - son of Moses M. Conrad
Conrad, Moses M. Foundryman 1870-1880. Farm manager at Sligo Iron Works in 1870.
Dolby, Lewis - *-1864. Lewis engaged part of the time in tending a ferry boat across the Clarion River and the
balance driving a mule at another bank at Sligo Furnace in Clarion County until his enlistment in the Civil War in
Feb. 1864. Source: Jackie Dolby.
Engal, Henry - Gutterman 1850
Falker, William - Furnace Keeper 1860
Fink, David - Gutterman 1850
Gates, Thomas D. - Founderer 1850-1860
Hartle, Franklin - Furnace Filler 1860. Furnace Worker 1870
Linkert, Samuel - Furnace Bookkeeper 1870
Longwell, Hamilton - Furnace Manager 1860
Lyon, Capt. D. Elliott - Furnace Manager 1870
Lyon, John Patton - Iron Master 1850-1860
McCullough, Thomas—Iron Master 1850
Patton, N.B. — Clerk, residing with J.P. Lyon in 1850.
Peters, Amos - Furnace Gutterman 1870
Peterson, Michael - Founderer 1860
Rankin, Calvin A. - Furnace Manager 1860
Rohran, Henry - Furnace Gutterman 1860
Rohran, William - Furnace Gutterman 1860
Springer, George - Furnace Keeper 1860
Saylor, Daniel - Furnace Worker 1870
Slattery, Andrew—Furnace Man abt 1850-1860
Stayer, Fibius - Furnace Worker 1870
Stewart, David—Iron Master (b 1792—d 1869)
With, John - Furnace Worker 1870
William M. Lyon To Valentine Myers
Know all men by these presents that I, William M. Lyon for a valuable consideration have sold to Valentine Myers of John, the house built by Lyon Shorb of Madison furnace on land of John Myers adjacent adjacent to the ore bank worked on said land by said Lyon Shorb & co. and that I hereby relinquish and surrender as well for myself as for Lyon Shorb & Co. of Madison Furnace to the said Valentine Myers the house aforesaid situated on the land of John Myers in Piney Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania in witness my hand and seal this eight day of March AD 1854. William M. Lyon (seal)
Clarion County SS:
Personally appeared before me the subscriber a Justice of the Peace in * for said County R.P. Maclay who being duly sworn according to law deposeth & saith that the attest taken to the above instrument of writing in his signature and written by himself and further saith not.
Sworn and subscribed before me the tenth day of May 1859. R.P. Maclay, E. Armetage. Recorded 21 Feb 1866. Transcribed by Pamela Myers-Grewell.
An ad for Sligo Iron Works, Pittsburgh, PA ca.1870.
("Pittsburgh Its Industry & Commerce," ca.1870, Barr & Myers)
History of Clarion County, unknown compiler, cir 1976
History of Pennsylvania, by I. D. Rupp, published in 1847
Caldwell's Illustrated Historical Combination Atlas of Clarion Co., Pa. AJ Davis, 1877
History of Clarion County A. J. Davis ed. 1887 Iron Furnaces chapter
Death -- Jun 19, 1869
Mr. David STEWART, ironmaster, died, on May 19, aged 77, at his residence at Colerain Forge, Huntingdon Co. 'one of the firm of Lyon, Shorb, and Co.'