Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pine Furnace-Pine Furnace, PA

Today I was at a customers house near Templeton and we began talking about the history of the area. His father wrote a sizable book about the history of Templeton, Mosgrove, Kittanning and the surrounding locales. In the book was a section on the old iron furnaces in the area. After talking for awhile he gave me directions to the Pine Furnace and I decided to take a quick drive by there. 


The Pine Furnace dates back to 1845-46 and was built by James E. Brown and James Mosgrove of Kittanning to make hot blast charcoal iron. It functioned as a charcoal fueled furnace until 1865 when it was remodeled and switched over to coke. The original stack was 32 feet high with a ten foot bosh and was steam powered. The remodeled stack was 40 feet high with a 9'10" bosh and a four foot square hearth. The furnace had a capacity of 50-60 tons a week. In 1879 pig iron had reached $16 a ton and made operating the furnace unprofitable. It operated almost continuously throughout its lifetime and was the cheapest furnace to run in Armstrong County. 


By 1880 a sizable community had grown up around the furnace. The town included stores, a schoolhouse and church as well as many residential homes. All that remains today is a stack of stone from the furnace.

(Sources  and Armstrong County, PA. Her People Past and Present)

This is the view from the road.

Climbing up the hill. Perfect corners on this stack.

Backside of the furnace.

Side view.

Back corner.

Other corner.

Closeup of stonework.

Possible race in front of the stack.

Front from halfway up the hill.


  1. Hi. Nice pics. Where I grew up in Northern Cambria County, we didn't call 'em ash dumps, we called 'em "boney piles". Old timer miners used to tell the bar tender "put a little boney on top", meaning put some foam on the top of their draft beer. Any way, I still call 'em "boney piles". Take pictures while you can, they are disappearing - most of the really big ones have been hauled away and burned in co-gen plants, I guess that's progress, getting rid of large eyesores thjat used to burn and stink when I was a youngster

  2. They are getting fewer. There's still some mountains here and there. They are a lot of fun on a mountain bike.

  3. Fascinating! Was not aware of this old furnace. Is there a title to the history book name?
    Eric Johnson

    1. Hello Eric. Thanks for writing. The name of the book is "Pages From The Past" by William Mateer. I'm not sure of the printing or availability. It's a sizable book though.

    2. Eric, here is a writeup on the book I found on Triblive.