The Land Between: Marmora Iron Works

The Land Between: Marmora Iron Works


[ Episode 2 Preview: Marmora Iron Works ]>>ANDRÉ PHILPOT : Well Marmora was the site
of one of the first really big industries in Upper Canada, and that was the Charles
Hayes Iron Works, that was started in 1821. Well behind me is the wall of iron-rich rock,
which first attracted the attention from the surveyors. They described this as being a
mountain of iron ore sufficient to supply the needs of the Empire for many decades to
come. Somebody would hold an actual iron bar, and
another person would hit it with a sledgehammer. So it would go in, and every time it went
in, you’d just do one little turn on it. They said that the guy who swung the sledgehammer
had to have a strong back and long arms, and the guy who held the spike had to have long
arms and a weak mind. They took about three hundred and something
thousand tones of iron ore out of here. And they calculated that there was about 1.8 million
tones left. The Marmora area had what he needed to make
iron. It had limestone, it had the iron ore, and it had an almost endless supply of timber
still at that time. And what you need to make the iron, you have to create a way to melt
it – that’s the blast furnace. The blast furnace that Hayes made was approximately thirty feet
high. And then he had to take iron ore, which is
about the heaviest product you can make in industry, and he had to drag it down to Kingston
(which is what – eighty miles), over roads that he described as ‘liquid mud.’ So
it was still wilderness. He was well ahead of his time and well ahead
of any hopes of succeeding.

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