Thanks to our friends at the Canaan/Falls Village Historical Society for coming up with this YouTube video that originally appeared on Connecticut Public TV.
Shot in the 1990s, it features faces that are familiar to those associated with Beckley Furnace over the years. The faces (and voices) of Ron Jones, Ed Kirby, the late Fred Hall, and the late Fred Warner, are notable. The furnace itself appears in the starring role, which is perfectly reasonable! After all these years, and despite some initial flickering in the video, even if you actually watched it on CPTV, it’s well worth viewing again.
Click HERE to see it on YouTube.
A few things to watch for, besides the four men mentioned earlier: There are several views of the furnace with scaffolding around it during the restoration process. Note the masons at work on on the furnace. In the early years after restoration we had a chain link fence around the furnace, which made it a lot less photogenic — and you can see that fence in place in these views. The account of why the Bessemer process of steel making was established in Pennsylvania instead of Northwest Connecticut is particularly poignant.
You and other people might think that the iron industry was only in the United States. But, it had to of come from somewhere right?
Where else was the iron industry?
-An iron blade was found in an Egyptian pyramid.
-By 5 B.C. there were small blast furnaces in China
-In Germany blast furnaces date to the 14th century
-In Spain forges date to the 8th century
-The Cranberry Bogs in Massachusetts was where they dug up bog Iron.
-The iron furnace in Kent, CT gave its’ name to the Kent Furnace in Kent, Ct.
-Sheffeild, England was where they invented crucible steel.
See? The iron industry most likely came here from Europe and Asia which was where it started.
This is America, not Europe!
The most likely reason as to why the iron industry started here was that the people that came to America from Europe brought with them ideas. One of these ideas probably was to start iron furnaces in the original colonies. If you’ve seen our ABOUT page, you’ll remember that John Adam Beckley originally set up the many Beckley Furnaces. Other people may have been inspired by him, or had already had other furnaces/forges which is how there were so many then and how there are still some around today.