At its peak, from 1835 until the late 1850s, the Henry Clay Furnace employed 200 people and smelted four tons of pig iron daily, a product of the low-grade iron ore that outcrops along the vale of the lower Cheat River. The iron was used by the cut-nail industry in the Monongahela Valley Region in northern West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania. The ore, limestone, and charcoal needed to operate the cold-blast furnace were all available on the western flanks of the Allegheny Mountains, where several similar furnaces operated. Built of stone blocks, the furnace sits on a 30-foot square and rises almost 34 feet in a truncated pyramidal shape.
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