Jefferson Furnace was established in 1854 and stopped production in 1916. The first stack stood at 40 feet tall and was completed on October 15th, 1854 by a group of Welshmen led by Thomas. T. Jones and John D. Davis. The furnace itself had the capacity to produce 14 tons of iron a day. The iron produced at Jefferson Furnace was sold under the name "Anchor," and the furnace was the main producer of the iron used to build the U.S.S. Monitor, the first ironclad warship utilized by the Union Navy during the Civil War. Jefferson Furnace also produced the iron used in the casting of the seven-ton guns stored at Harper's Ferry. Toward the end World War I, the iron industry in Ohio was on the decline and before Jefferson Furnace was abandoned it was the last charcoal furnace in Ohio. The furnace is now in disarray and faces an uncertain future.
Backstory and Context
One of the founding members and the first president of Jefferson Furnace was Thomas T. Jones, the progenitor of the Jones family in Jackson, Ohio. The Jones family was a major influence on the city of Jackson for the better part of a century, due in large part to the iron industry, which flourished in South-eastern Ohio until the end of World War I.
The last use of the Jefferson Furnace was at 11:40 p.m. on December 26th, 1916, when the final cast was poured. tourists can view what now remains of the Jefferson Furnace at its original location on the edge of Lake Jackson in Oak Hill, Ohio. While very few steps are currently being taken to uphold the furnace, it has a marker proclaiming its historical significance to the village and the nation. While it faces an uncertain future due to its callus neglect, the furnace still stands more or less as it has for many years, now ravaged by weeds causing, along with age, the top layers of bricks to come apart.