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Metalworking Furnaces - San Juan Capistrano, California
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Bluejacket01
N 33° 30.187 W 117° 39.793
11S E 438398 N 3707261
Quick Description: The two furnaces at this site, circa 1790's, are the oldest exisitng metalworking structures in California
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 7/5/2008 8:38:59 AM
Waymark Code: WM447R
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
Views: 99

Long Description:
These furnaces were used for the production of wrought iron, thereby introducing the natives living here to the Metal Age. Previously, only skills in stone, wood, bone and shell were known. - From the ASM (American Society for Metals) plaque next to the furnaces.

Excavations carried out in 1935 unearthed the ruins and foundations of the industrial area where unrefined materials where processed for use and export. These catalan furnaces were used to smelt ore to make metal for tools, hardware, farm and ranch implements. The circular, terracotta tile pipe extending from the top of each furnace would have had large bellows attached for forcing fresh air into the furnaces to promote a hotter fire.... - From the Mission Museum sign post.

Catalan furnace - a kind of furnace for producing wrought iron directly from the ore. It was formerly much used, esp. in Catalonia, and is still used in some parts of the United States and elsewhere.

In Mission San Juan de Capistrano, California, excavations have uncovered the existence of two furnaces dating back to circa 1790 which, according to Magalousis and MacLeod (1993), were probably used to produce iron. Between the two furnaces there are water channels that appear to have had the purpose of driving the trompes. The furnaces, however, have a circular plan and are very wide. They do not resemble the furnaces of the fargues. That said, the use of the trompe and the fact that Gaspar de Portolà’s expedition, which included a Catalan volunteer corps, arrived in California in 1765 (several years before the estimated construction of the furnaces), makes the existence of some type of Catalan influence in their construction seem plausible. - excerpt from a paper by Estanislau Tomàs of the Societat Catalana de Tecnologia, as published by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Barcelona, Spain - 'The Catalan process for the direct production of malleable iron and its spread to Europe and the Americas'; see the website link given below for the definition of a 'trompe' and more.

On the grounds of the Mission San Juan Capistrano - 26801 Ortega Highway San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Type of structure/site: Furnace

Date of Construction: 1790's

Engineer/Architect/Builder etc.: Gaspar de Portolà’s expedition, which included a Catalan volunteer corps

Engineering Organization Listing: ASM International

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Web Site: [Web Link]

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