Eliza Furnace Historical

Eliza Furnace Historical (HM1W73)

Location: Pittsburgh, PA 15213 Allegheny County
Country: United States of America

N 40° 25.577', W 79° 57.229'

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James Laughlin, one of the founders of Jones & Laughlin, constructed the first Eliza Furnace, a stone blast furnace for smelting iron. Built in 1858 before the Civil War, Eliza marked the city's emerging iron and steel industry and was the first iron furnace built in Pittsburgh since 1794. By Victorian tradition, the furnaces were named after women because they were considered temperamental.

With new technology, Jones & Laughlin rebuilt the Eliza furnace, eventually adding new furnaces.

Molten iron from Eliza was first transported across the river by boat and later by rail cars over the Hot Metal Bridge. There, on the south side of the river, were the Bessemer Converters and open hearths. Steel ingots went back across the river to be rolled or fabricated into sheets, wire, rails, and other products.

Eliza and the other blast furnaces posed an ever-present danger for workers. In 1907, without warning, the No. 2 furnace exploded and burned 14 workers to death.

The tragedy brought steel men from all over the nation to examine Eliza for flaws. None were found.

As Big Steel change, the last Eliza Furnace was shut down on June 22, 1979, and replaced with two electric furnaces across the river on the South Side. These furnaces closed in 1987.
HM NumberHM1W73
Placed ByPA DCNR, Steel Industry Heritage Corporation, City of PIttsburgh, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, December 9th, 2016 at 1:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 588744 N 4475597
Decimal Degrees40.42628333, -79.95381667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 25.577', W 79° 57.229'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 25' 34.62" N, 79° 57' 13.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)412, 724
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Three Rivers Heritage Trail, Pittsburgh PA 15213, US
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