Casting Pigs

Casting Pigs (HM1LPR)

Location: Macungie, PA 18062 Lehigh County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 30.547', W 75° 35.605'

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Lock Ridge Furnace

This portion of the iron complex was known as the casting house. A chute from the hearth under Stack #7 brought molten iron into the large, open room. The floor of the room was covered in deep sand, which was shaped into molds. As the molten iron poured into the molds, workers used flat-edged shovels to guide the flow. Men took great precautions to protect themselves from the brownish, taffy-like substance that could leave them burned or worse, if they stepped in the wrong direction or caused the iron to splash. Protective clothing of the day consisted of wooden shoes that slipped over their boots and extra layers of fabric that they wrapped around the lower portions of their legs.
Each of the long molds was separated into shorter sections by a brick, which became embedded in the molten iron. When the iron cooled, workers could use a crowbar to crack the iron at each brick-creating relatively light pieces of iron, known as "pigs." The men loaded the iron pigs onto the donkey engines, which carried them to the main rail line for shipment on the Massasoit. From Lock Ridge, the iron traveled to factories where it was melted, reworked, and turned into finished metal products.
"Nobody forced me to do this. I do it because I would rather live in an Iron Age than live in a world of ox-carts."
James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor (1921-1930) on working in an iron furnace during his youth.
(Inscription under the sketch in the lower right) This sketch depicts a typical nineteenth-century casting room. The use of a mule on the right side of the room indicates that the scene was not at Lock Ridge. (Collection of the Lehigh County Historical Society)
Placed ByWilliam B. Butz Memorial Fund
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, July 11th, 2015 at 10:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 449724 N 4484435
Decimal Degrees40.50911667, -75.59341667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 30.547', W 75° 35.605'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 30' 32.82" N, 75° 35' 36.3" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)610, 484
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 7738 Racite Rd, Macungie PA 18062, US
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