By Emmett A. Conway, The Olde Forester
Location: Lake Hope State Park, near Zaleski
Dates: 1854 - c'75
Condition: Being maintained in fairly good condition at the Lake Hope State Park. Lincoln Furnace, off State Route 32, still has the sandstone base intact, but the cut stone has been removed from the top. (Condition reported by Richard Leive, Fall, 2000)
HOPE FURNACE is the charcoal iron furnace most seen as it is located on the Lake Hope State Park at the head of Lake Hope at the side of State Highway 278. This is the trail head for popular hiking trails on the Zaleski State Forest.
The stone stack had a pear shaped interior into which the ingredients were dropped from a charging floor above through a trap door according to the foundryman's judgement. Statistics of the Hope Furnace are given in an 1870 GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF OHIO. Production was 15 tons of cast iron per day and in 1870 the furnace produced 2,827 tons of foundry iron. The raw materials were iron ore, roasted to remove some the impurities, 1,150 to 1,225 pounds; 70 pounds of limestone; and 35 bushels of charcoal. The charcoal was produced from trees on the nearby forest. Ore from the vicinity was unsatisfactory, so they brought ore from the Vinton Furnace Tract via the Big Sand Railroad -- the roadbed which is now under the waters of Lake Hope. Added was 70 pounds of limestone to complete the chemical reaction when heated to 950 degrees by the blast. The primitive stone furnaces were built against a bluff the height of the stack so that a bridge could be used to wheel the various components from the large storage shed to the trap door.
In an engine house, a steam engine produced the power for the BLOWING TUBS which produced the blast of air. A BOILER was above the furnace using the furnace gases to produce steam. Exhaust from the boiler passed through chambers to preheat the air for blast.
For a visual explanation of the Hanging Rock Iron Era visit BUCKEYE FURNACE STATE HISTORICAL PARK in Jackson County where there is a restoration of the many buildings which comprised an IRON FURNACE PLANTATION.
Additional history of Hope Iron Furnace
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