Antietam Furnace and the Maryland Iron Industry

In Washington County, Maryland, the remains of a mid 18th- to late 19th- century iron furnace are located in the town of Antietam. The first furnace and forge at this extensive iron-working facility were likely in operation by 1775. Pig Iron was the major product at the Antietam Furnace site but, just prior to the Revolutionary War, the furnace began producing cannon for the Continental Army. Following the Revolutionary War, the facility may have had a period of inactivity until a nail factory was set up in 1831, after which the furnace was operated until 1880 and then dismantled in 1891. Because of the site’s significance, Antietam Furnace is on the National Register of Historic Places. Conservators at the MAC Lab work steadily to treat the artifacts that were cast directly at the furnace, including the heavy implements used in the iron trade like hammers, anvils, and stove plates.

One phase of treatment includes manually cleaning the artifacts with dremel tools and scalpels.
A cast iron kettle (upside down on the left) and two stove plates are pictured here.

Close up of stove plate being cleaned of its corrosion with a scalpel.

*What is a stove plate and what are those decorations on it? Learn all about it at our MAC Lab Conservation Facebook page!