Nearby, in the early 1870's, a crude experimental blast furnace was built by Samuel E. Jones for the Tennessee Coal and Railroad Company. Called "Fiery Gizzard", the furnace was to determine if coke burned from local coal was of suitable quality for making iron. The furnace produced only fifteen tons of iron before the stovepipe fell on the third day of operations. However, the moderate success at Fiery Gizzard contributed heavily to the development of the iron industry
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in Tennessee and the South, and to the development of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company (now a division of United Sates Steel) into the South's largest steel producer. The parent organization of the Tennessee Coal and Railroad Company was the Sewanee Mining Company, whose president, Samuel Tracy, donated five thousand acres of land, one million board feet of lumber, twenty thousand tons of free transportation, and two thousand tons of coal to the founding of The University of the South at Sewanee.