The West Furnace is a cube-shaped kiln constructed of dry, random coursed rubblestone and firebrick. The furnace was originally about 40 feet tall and tapered toward the top. Several bellows, driven by a large waterwheel, would blast air into the furnace to keep the fire at an even temperature. The exposed insides reveal some of the iron structural supports and three distinct inner design details: the outside walls, the firebrick bosh lining, and the rock fillbetween the two layers. Also visible is a bustle pipe or a tuyere, one of several pipes inside the furnace that were part of a system that used the heat produced by the furnace to the preheat the blast of air from the bellows before it entered the fire. This is one of the earliest, if not the first, hotblast systems in the country. The hotblast system became an industry standard.
The structure, approximately 10 by 10 feet at the base, is in dangerous and deteriorating condition. The west side, approximately 35 feet high, is more intact than north and west. The south side has fallen out and several trees and many years of vegetation have accumulated inside.
RETURN TO INDEX