Ran across this picture and thought you guys might enjoy it…
Since it’s a Ship’s History Enthusiast thread regarding a 160 year old
iron battle ship, what’s bumping a 7 year old post to shed some more light on the photo of the crew of the USS Monitor ?
Firstly, the Monitor wasn’t the only ironclad ship like it. Later versions were produced with some having dual turrets positioned fore and aft, thus doubling the firepower.
The county seat where I live is Ironton, Ohio which got it’s name for being a principle producer of some of the highest quality iron available in the early 1800’s. In fact it is recorded that one of the Iron Furnaces located near Jackson, Ohio (about 30 miles north of Ironton) produced the iron that was used to build the Turret containing the canons you see in the photo. Even Cannon Barrels used iron from these sources. (called “Parrots”) The quality of this Iron was said to come close to the earliest steel, and was known for its resistance to corrosion/rust.
From and Article in Aug 2016
Restoring the Turret of the USS Monitor
After resting for 140 years in 240 feet of salt water off Cape Hatteras, the Turret is still in good shape and still looking quite like it did in the photo.
Dual Turret Monitor Class Ironclad.
A typical (reststored) Iron Furnace that would have produced iron for a Turret The stone pyramid contained the refractory materials where the charge of Charcoal, Iron Ore, and Limestone was burnt to produce the pig iron. In the foreground the shed had a floor of sharp sand which was watered and a wooden form inserted into it to make the leach field of pig molds. When the iron was ready to pour the furnace was opened at the bottom so that the molten iron would drain out and fill all of the molds. Once cooled it could be loaded into wagons and shipped to the Ohio River at Ironton, Ohio.
Many Iron Furnace ruins still stand today.
The stone wall behind the furnace was the road on which carts of ore, and wagons of charcoal or limestone were delivered to the building on top of the furnace for storage until used to charge the furnace.
A cut away view of a Furnace in operation. To the left of the furnace
you can see the leach field where the “pigs” of iron.
So when looking at photos of old Iron Ships of the 1800 era, this can offer some insight into the iron making technology that was employed to make the materials used in building them in those times. .