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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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FURNACES (LEAD PROCESSING). The first furnace for processing ore was constructed by Peter LORIMIER on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER just above the mouth of CATFISH CREEK in 1834. John BURTON erected another on the LITTLE MAQUOKETA RIVER and Disney & O'Farrell erected a third at the eastern end of Southern Avenue. These were cupola furnaces and although better than previous forms of smelting recovered only between 65-70% of the metal. Richard WALLER soon formed a company for construction of a blast furnace.

In the neighborhood of Dubuque in November, 1836, there were five blast furnaces that smelted seventy pigs per week each. Of these the one owned by Mr. Hulett smelted 70,000 pounds per week; a cupola furnace conducted by Mr. McKnight smelted about the same; the one owned by Mr. Lorimier at Rip Row smelted 60,000 pounds per week; several log furnaces smelted each week seventy pigs of seventy pounds each. Mr. O'Ferrall's furnace smelted 100,000 pounds per week. Morrison & Prentice bought and shipped mineral in 1836 (Visitor, May 11, 1835.)

In the summer of 1849 there were seven smelting furnaces near Dubuque and it was estimated that they turned out a total of 30,000 pigs during that year.

Four furnaces for processing lead ore were established in the Dubuque area in 1860. One was located at the foot of Southern Avenue. A second was east of CENTER GROVE. A third furnace was one mile west of Catfish Mills and the last was west of a site called Stewarts.

In 1862, a year in which ore was worth between $37.00 and $44.00 per thousand pounds, one million pounds of lead ore were mined in Dubuque. With the need for lead during the CIVIL WAR, prices rose from $48.00 to $90.00 in 1864.



Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-2-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml