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Mapping the iron industry

Mapping the iron industry

Chapter:
(p.11) 1 Mapping the iron industry
Source:
Mastering Iron
Author(s):
Anne Kelly KnowlesChester Harvey
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226448619.003.0002

This chapter explains the evolution of the iron industry by retracing the footsteps of J. Peter Lesley and two young men who helped him assess the state of the industry in 1855–58. Lesley published the results of their survey as The Iron Manufacturer’s Guide, a massive compendium that captured the industry’s striking variation and major trends from the end of the eighteenth century to the eve of the Civil War. The company-level information that Lesley and his assistants collected provides the basis for mapping the development of the American industry in unprecedented detail, with particular insights into the spatial and temporal patterns of construction, production, the abandonment of facilities, and technological change. The chapter concludes with a comprehensive description of the country’s major ironmaking districts and regions.

Keywords:   American iron industry, J. Peter Lesley, Iron Manufacturer’s Guide, ironmaking

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