Furnace: Antrim, MI - Antrim Iron Company Furnace

Antrim Iron CompanyAn Antrim Iron Company 2-8-0 with crew works near the company furnace at Mancelona. The furnace was located along the Grand Rapids & Indiana railroad main line to Mackinaw City.

Photo Info: This locomotive is reportedly an ex-Colorado Midland locomotive. [UMB-Stoner Collection]


1910. Summary of operations. The Antrim Iron Company was organized in Michigan in 1886 with a capital stock of $350,000.00. The officers were W. Bernhardt, President; J. C. Holt, Vice President and Treasurer; H. J. Bennett, Secretary; and N. M. Langdon, Manager.

The furnace was built in 1883 or 1884 by Mr. Otis, who was financially backed by Mr. Cherry of Chicago. On the latter gentleman's failure in 1884-5 the plant went into the receiver's hands, with Mr. Bernhardt as receiver. Mr. Otis, however, was permitted to pull the furnace out of the hole. Mr. T. J. O'Brien was President of the Company from that time until he resigned to enter the United States diplomatic circles as Minister to Japan.

Regarding the furnace proper in1910, it was 60' high and it had a 12' bosh; the diameter of the throat was1' and of the hearth is 6', with a hearth depth of 6'. It was hand filled and is capable of producing 115 tons of pig iron per day; but because of dull market conditions only 80 tons of pig iron was being produced daily in 1910. It had 8 twyeres, and the diameter of the blow pipes at the nozzle of these twyeres was 4 inches. The blast pressure varied from 5 pounds to 7½ pounds to the square inch; an increase in blast pressure of necessity implying an increase in pig iron production. About 6,500 cubic feet of air was blown into the furnace per minute, and an average of 91 bushels of charcoal was used per ton of pig produced.

There was one double Durham iron pipe stove which heated the blast up to about 900° F. There were 18 U-pipes in the stove. There was also a spare stove. The blast was furnished by one vertical Weimer blowing engine, with a piston displacement in the blowing tub of 72" x 48". There were 6-150 H. P. and 2-200 H. P. Wicks vertical water tube boilers. These were both gas fired with waste gases from the blast furnace and wood fired.

The charcoal was obtained from 56, 55-cord beehive charcoal kilns, and 20, 80 cord charcoal kilns of the same type. Wood alcohol and acetate of lime was secured from the volatile matter given forth in the carbonizing of the wood. Connected with the plant was a saw mill wherein the best of the lumber cut is sawed into shape and sold for building purposes. [ISIS-1911]

Time Line

1894. The Antrim Iron Co. of Mancelona will shut down the last of this month for ninety days. The company says that all those who remain until they start up can have the rent of their houses for free. [DFP-1894-0514]

1895. June 11. The first shipment of ore this season from the upper peninsula to the Antrim Iron Co. amounting to eighteen carloads, passed through Mackinaw City this afternoon. [DFP-1895-0611.

1896. The Antrim Chemical Co., established in 1893, are also manufacturers of refined wood alcohol. Their works are located at Antrim and operated in connection with the Antrim Iron Co. [DFP-1896-1230]


The following sources are utilized in this website. [SOURCE-YEAR-MMDD-PG]:

  • [AAB| = All Aboard!, by Willis Dunbar, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids ©1969.
  • [AAN] = Alpena Argus newspaper.
  • [AARQJ] = American Association of Railroads Quiz Jr. pamphlet. © 1956
  • [AATHA] = Ann Arbor Railroad Technical and Historical Association newsletter "The Double A"
  • [AB] = Information provided at Michigan History Conference from Andrew Bailey, Port Huron, MI

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