This chapter reflects on the iron industry’s development from 1800 to 1868. While this period saw tremendous geographical expansion and the adoption of technological innovations that greatly increased production, those changes failed to eradicate older forms of production. The hybridity that characterized American ironmaking in the 1830s and 1840s intensified with time, culminating in wartime industries which used virtually every known kind of ironmaking technology. Ironmaster Abram Hewitt, who led the American delegation to the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1867, was frustrated to see that the U.S. iron industry still could not match the impressive achievements of larger, more advanced European works. Fundamental changes were afoot, however, that would shift the balance of global production to the United States, give managers the upper hand over labor, and create new processes and landscapes of production which riveted world attention in the age of mass-produced steel.
Keywords: iron industry, American ironmaking, Abram Hewitt, iron manufacturing