Furnace Plaque
Dedication plaque on the front of the Oswego Iron Furnace.


April 26, 1861, Oregonian

OSWEGO IRON MINES.—The beds of iron at Oswego have lately attracted considerable attention. The possibility of supplying ourselves with iron of native production should at once excite a lively interest. In the course of the next week a party of gentlemen, interested in the development of our resources, will visit the iron deposits and make a recognizance of the adjacent country with a view to ascertain the practicability of working them.


April 3, 1862, Oregonian p4

OREGON IRON.—Mr. H. S. Jacobs, of this city, last week showed us samples of horse-shoe nails and other specimens of iron made of ore taken from the Oswego mine, on the Willamette river, seven miles above this city. The iron is of extra fine quality and is much praised by workers in this metal. We shall probably mention this matter at greater length in our next issue.


April 5, 1862, The State Republican (Eugene) p2

IRON MINE.—Yesterday H. S. Jacobs, at the corner of Second and Morrison streets, smelted some iron ore taken from the mine situated on Judge Durham’s place at Oswego, 10 miles above this city. The iron obtained is of fine quality. A mining pick and some horse shoe nails were made of it. The mine is very extensive, and would furnish enough iron to supply the whole Pacific coast. It would pay well for working and the time is not far distant when it will be done, and doubtless profitably.—Times.


April 11, 1862, Oregonian p2

The Iron of Oregon

Recent experiments prove the richness and excellence of the iron made of Oregon ore. We believe that if we can avail ourselves of the iron in our mountains and hills, it will be of as much permanent benefit to Oregon as the gold on our eastern frontier.

It is known, or ought to be known, everywhere on this coast, that there is within six miles of Portland, a deposit of Iron ore, immense in amount, of which can be made very superior iron. We have seen specimens of the iron which bear a fine polish, exceedingly tough and at the same time readily worked.


April 18, 1862, Oregonian

From the Oregon Farmer.  The Iron Ore of Oregon – Its Excellence –-The Demands for Iron on this Coast –- A Valuable Investment for Eastern Capitalists.

To Henry Carey Baird, Esq.,

Philadelphia, Penn.,

Sir: — In the month of January, in 1861, in an article in this paper, we referred to the fact that there was an inexhaustible bed of rich iron ore within a few miles of this city, lying on the west bank of the Willamette easy of access by a navigable River, and in the immediate neighborhood of immense forests of fir timber, suitable for coal, and a fine water power within a few rods of it.

We stated that a vast amount of iron was required for domestic uses in Oregon, much was needed for heavy castings, and that supplies of iron for castings could be found here sufficient for all the demands of the Pacific Coast.

We desired that the facts thus presented should be published in the Pennsylvania papers, if possible to induce iron masters of that State, to turn their attention in this direction, where an ample opportunity would be found for the application of their enterprise, and where capital invested in opening our iron mines, under skillful managers, would insure great profits, and prove eminently advantageous to this country.

Recently there has been an assay of the Oregon iron ore. This was done by Mr. A. K. Olds, of Yamhill County, and H. S. Jacobs, of this city. They made twelve pounds of iron with a blacksmith’s bellow, from the ore, at one process. Mr. Olds, who is an experienced metallurgist—having built the first iron works and made the first iron on Lake Superior—having also tested in the same manner, as he has in the present case, the ores of Pennsylvania, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, he pronounces the iron made from the Oregon Iron Ore, equal in quality to that made on Lake Superior—that being considered the best in the United States.

The iron made by Messrs. Olds and Jacobs, was drawn out and horse shoe nails made from it, as also a miner’s pick. Several old and experienced blacksmiths, present when the iron in question was made, have since thoroughly tested it, and pronounce it iron of a superior quality.

The iron is now on exhibition at Mr. Jacob’s wagon establishment in this city, and can be tested by all who choose to do so at any time.—We shall send specimens of this ore to Henry Carey Baird, Esq., of Philadelphia, where they can be examined by any gentlemen who deem the matter worthy of their attention.

The citizens of the State of Oregon have a deep interest in the development of the riches of the Iron mines of their State. They know that every pound of iron made here, prevents its value in gold from being sent out of the State. They know that the demand for iron in various forms, for ordinary purposes, yearly, in Oregon, amounts to a vast sum. They are aware that the opening of the gold mines, and the improvement of the country east of the mountains, which is now receiving accessions of population of more than one thousand a day, will vastly increase the demand for iron. They know that iron ore, of good quality, with facilities for working it and carrying it to market, has not been found on this coast, save in Oregon. They know that the Pacific Coast is no longer to remain undefended—and that numerous forts must be built and armed to defend the mouths of our rivers and harbors. They know, too, that large quantities of iron are to be used in building ships of war to defend this coast in case of difficulties with foreign nations. And more than all, they know that they have inexhaustible supplies of this iron, now in the ore, to be brought out by labor, capital and industry.

We have not the spare capital and labor to do this. We are aware that they can be found in your State, and that they can be used to make your capitalists returns that ought to satisfy reasonable men. Hence this article is addressed to you; and the people of Oregon, appreciating your patriotic motives in behalf of home industry, in that policy which makes home prosperous and independent—an object that should always be sought by good citizens—indulge the hope that you will so use it, as to benefit as well this remote portion of our glorious republic, as many citizens of your State, who may cast their lot with us.

Letters addressed to the following named gentlemen, residents of Portland, on the subjects embraced in this communication, will receive prompt attention: W. H. Rector, W. S. Ladd, H. W. Corbett, Gen. E. Hamilton, A. C. Gibbs, A. R. Shipley, M. Patton, H. S. Jacobs. Also to Amory Holbrook, at Oregon City.

Editor of the Oregon Farmer.


July 10, 1862, Oregonian

Iron.—Gen. McCarver and associates have made arrangements with Mr. Olds, of Yamhill county, by which the iron ore on their lands is to be manufactured into iron. The ore in this mine, like that at Oswego, in Clackamas county, produces the finest quality of metal—equal to that of Lake Superior. Success to this and all similar enterprises, which add so much to the development of the vast mineral resources of the State.


Oct. 18, 1862, Oregonian p3

IRON ORES.—We received yesterday several specimens of iron ore sent by a friend at Oregon City from the iron beds recently found on the Tualitan river, and without professing to be a competent judge of such weighty matters, we believe they present a very strong resemblance to that useful metal. For particulars relative to this important discovery we refer our readers to communication found in another column.


Oct. 30, 1862, Oregonian p5  [Excerpt.]

Iron ore yielding sixty per cent of pure metal, of excellent quality, is found six miles from Portland, in quantities literally inexhaustible. Some of this ore has been worked into nails and implements, but only for experiment. At other points there is any quantity of iron. It is estimated that the State contains a sufficiency of iron ore, if worked, to supply almost the entire Nation. Nothing but enterprise is wanted to render these now useless rocks, a source of incalculable wealth to individuals, and to the State.


Nov. 25, 1862, Oregonian

The New Iron Works.—We learn that the new Iron works, on the Tualatin River four miles above Oregon City, will commence operations in ten or twelve days. The machinery, all of which as made at Oregon city, is being put up. It will employ about sixteen hands. Mr. A. K. Olds, the proprietor, is an experienced iron miner, from the Eastern States. He believes that he can produce a better article of iron than any shipped here, from the ore on the Tualatin, and at a lower price.


MortonMatthew McCarver
Morton Matthew McCarver


March 18, 1865, Sacramento Daily Union

LETTER FROM OREGON.  The Pittsburg of the Pacific Coast

In my last I wrote you of contemplated iron works on the Willamette, nine miles above Portland, and the mountain of iron there. I clip the following from the local column of the Oregonian [2/28/1865] on the same topic:

Some years ago General McCarver— the story goes was traveling over a portion of the country bordering on the Willamette, and, his horse having lost a shoe, stopped at a backwoods blacksmith shop to have one replaced. While waiting, he casually inquired where the smith procured his iron, and was told that he manufactured it. This led to further conversation on the topic of iron, and disclosed the fact that mountains of it abounded in the region about them. Bowlders [sic] of almost pure metal, and pieces that were forged from it, in the shape of nails, rods, shoes, etc., gradually came to light, and people became very much interested in the matter. About three years since some six tons of the ore was sent to California by H. D. Green, for experiment, and, after a thorough test, was found to yield from fifty-six to sixty-five per cent, as pure and excellent iron as the world could wish for. Since that time negotiations have been entertained with reference to a site for smelting furnaces, to enter upon the work on a grand scale, and being successfully accomplished, there has been an organization perfected, and articles of incorporation were filed last week for ” The Oregon Iron Company.” The principal office is located at 0swego, nine miles above this city, in Clackamas county. The incorporators are H. D. Green, W. S. Ladd and John Green. The capital stock of the company is $500,000, in shares of $500. Six hundred and fifty shares, or $325,090 of the capital stock, was taken on Saturday by a few of our prominent citizens and for some capitalists in New York. The balance of the $500,000 will probably be taken in San Francisco, and the entire amount will be in the hands of twenty shareholders, or possibly less than that number. There are many advantages for the successful operation of this important enterprise, and we are pleased to know that the work of erecting buildings, etc., will be commenced immediately by the company. The water privilege secured by the company in the immediate vicinity of their ore beds is ample for all purposes required. The species of ore are such that in the smelting process there is no necessity for the use of lime, and as the company have inexhaustible supplies of timber upon their land from which an excellent quality of charcoal can be had, the manufacture of iron will be attended with no extraordinary expense in that respect; besides, they will have excellent facilities for shipping their products to market, no land transportation being necessary, as vessels of the largest class which comes to this port can lay at wharves within less than one-eighth of a mile of the furnaces to receive their cargoes. Such are the features which promise success to a most important enterprise, and bid fair to make Oswego the Pittsburg of the Pacific coast.


April 16, 1866, Oregonian p3

IRON MONOPOLY.—It is asserted that one firm in San Francisco now controls the pig-iron market of this coast. They have a stock on hand valued at more than a quarter of a million dollars. They recently purchased all that was to be obtained at Victoria at an advance of from $8 to $10 per ton and now hold their stock firmly at an advance of from $10 to $15 per ton. This illustrates one of the shrewd tricks of business men on the Pacific. Had we the works for reducing the inexhaustible supply of raw mineral about Portland the monopolists would have poor [illegible] to turning their attention to this branch of business and retarding the material interests of the whole [coast for a] year. Any one can see what disadvantages must ensue from the policy pursued in this matter by the sharpers. But without viewing the iron interests of Oregon from such a stand point, it is very readily perceivable that we require smelting furnaces here to supply our own home demand. The import duties paid in Oregon on iron for the year ending June 30th, 1864, as we learn from the reports of Congress for that year, amounted to $19,740. Then we had not half the number of establishments in the State that there are at the present time and the imports from San Francisco were not taken into account. With the present demand, no doubt, the duties [for three years] on pig iron consumed in this State would more than doubly pay the cost of erecting furnace of [size?] sufficient to supply the want and leave a surplus for export. Capital is urgently needed for this purpose.


May 1, 1866, Oregonian p3

IRON SMELTING WORKS.—Our New York letter received by steamer yesterday, the publication of which is unavoidably delayed until tomorrow, says that Mr. H. W. Leonard [i.e., H. C. Leonard] would ship by steamer via the Isthmus, about the 1st of May, machinery for the complete erection of an Iron Smelting Furnace, to be put in operation near this city very soon after its arrival. This is most gratifying intelligence. In connection with this subject, our correspondent informs us that iron, manufactured from ores of the quality of that existing in this vicinity in such inexhaustible quantities, commands $75 per ton, while iron of other qualities commands but $50 per ton in the New York market. It affords us great pleasure to announce this important fact, and trust that the true sources of the wealth of our State, which have received so little attention in the past, may now awaken a spirit in our midst that will shortly make this vicinity a second Pittsburg and superior Lowell. The manufacturing and agricultural resources are really the basis of any country, and [illegible] the present the inducements that Oregon can for a superiority in those departments.


May 2, 1866, Oregonian p1


Mr. H. W. [sic] Leonard, of your city, and a stockholder of the Oregon Iron Co., has at present in course of construction, machinery for a hot blast furnace, which it is his intention to ship via the Isthmus on the steamer leaving here on the first of May next. The company intends to commence the erection of their works this spring, and to complete them so as to commence the operation of smelting by next fall.

In connection with the foregoing it will perhaps be interesting to know that iron manufactured from (hematite) ores, the same as the Oregon ore, is of the best quality and is largely used for the manufactory of car wheels and railroad iron, and brings $75 per ton at present in this market, while anthracite iron only commands $50 per ton.


June 23, 1866, Oregonian


The arrival of the machinery necessary for the Oregon Iron (Smelting) Works, at Oswego, six miles south of this city, has been noted during the week passing in review. That a demand will at once spring up for the products of this Company is beyond a doubt. We have no full reliable statistics to base a calculation upon, showing what the demand is likely to be, but in all probability it will more than equal the supply. We are informed by statistics lately published that the consumption of pig “Iron” in San Francisco for the year 1857 amounted to 2,000 tons. Since that time the consumption has gradually increased, and from 10,000 tons in 1863, we notice that estimates place the amount likely to be consumed in 1866 at 20,000 tons, and these estimates do not include the material to be used at the works of the Pacific Rolling Mill Company, which promises to be an immense item.

Salisbury furnace small
Diagram of a Salisbury iron furnace, on which the Oswego Furnace was modeled.

July 23, 1866, Oregonian

The Iron Furnace at Oswego, Oregon

A letter from Portland, dated July 7th, to the San Francisco Bulletin, contains the following information relative to the works now being erected at Oswego to reduce the iron ore found in that vicinity. We give the description entire, as it was evidently written with much care, and with a desire to present accurate information on the subject:

On the 23rd ult., I visited the Oregon Company’s Works, in company with the President and Vice President of the Corporation, W. S. Ladd and H. C. Leonard. The corporation is formed under the general law of the State, to make iron from the ore. It was formed a year ago last May. The capital stock is $500,000, and is owned by twenty stockholders. A majority of the stock is owned in Oregon, and the remainder in San Francisco and New York. The works are located at a point called Oswego, about six miles south of Portland, on the west bank of the Willamette river, at the junction of Sucker creek with the latter stream. At this point is a good site for a dock or wharf, which can be reached by vessels drawing 10 feet at low water. The works are being erected immediately on the north bank of Sucker creek, and within a stone’s throw of the Willamette. This creek is the outlet of a lake, which extends some three or four miles westward from the Willamette, and furnishes a safe and sufficient water power. The stack is modeled after the Barnum stack, at Lime Rock, Connecticut. At the date of my visit the foundation was just above the level of the ground. This is laid upon the bed rock at an average depth of 12 feet, and is constructed of solid dry stone work, covering a space of 36 feet square. The stack itself is being built of hewn stone, obtained on the ground. When completed it will be 34 feet square at the base or level of the grade, 32 feet in hight [sic], and 26 feet square at the top. On the top of the stack will be a chimney, built of brick, 40 feet high, containing the oven for heating air for the blast. The diameter of the bosh, or the top of the lower pyramid in which the smelting takes place, will be 10 feet. The blow-house will be built on the ground near the stack. The machinery for driving the air will be propelled by water. The blast will be furnished by two blowing cylinders, made of wood, each of five feet diameter and six feet stroke. The fuel used will be charcoal, and the stack may be used as a cold or hot blast furnace. It is intended to make pig iron, and in capacity of production it will be what is called “a ten ton stack,” or one capable of turning out 10 tons of iron in 24 hours. Immediately in the rear of the stack the ground rises abruptly to the hight [sic] of 35 or 40 feet, which will enable the stack to be charged at a great saving of labor. The works are being constructed under the superintendence of a Mr. Wilbur of Connecticut, who came out here for that purpose.


July 25, 1866, Oregonian

Money Market

HEAVY CASTINGS.—Several iron bars have just been cast at the Oregon Iron Works  for the use of the Oregon Iron Co.’s Smelting Works. They weigh in the aggregate about thirty tons.  [The Oregon Iron Works was a Portland foundry and under different ownership from the Oregon Iron Company in Oswego.]


July 27, 1866, Daily Alta California (San Francisco)


Much attention is being paid to the reduction of iron ores. “Oregon,” says the Oregonian “can and will furnish iron for the whole Pacific coast.”


July 27, 1866, The British Colonist (Victoria, B.C.)

Oswego Iron Works, Oregon – Mr. Hibbard, of San Juan Island, who has returned from Oregon, has presented us with specimens of Oregon ore from Oswego, a town situated on the Willamette River, six miles south of Portland.  Oswego is destined to become the centre of a great iron producing district. The ore abounds in the locality in great quantity, and a company, with a capital of $500,000, is already in successful operation.


July 28, 1866, The Weekly Herald (Portland)

Oregon Iron Company

On the invitation of the Directors, we yesterday visited the works of the Oregon Iron Company, on the Willamette, eight miles above Portland. At that point the Company are erecting furnaces of the most substantial character for smelting their ore, and have all the necessary castings upon the ground for the completion of their works, which they expect to have in full operation within the next six months. Their bed of ore is about a miles from the river, lies but a few feet below the surface of the earth, is easily accessible and inexhaustible in extent. The ores have been thoroughly tested and proved to be of the very best quality for every kind of manufactured iron. The lands are covered with a heavy growth of timber, furnishing an abundant supply of fuel for manufacturing purposes, and the works are erected at the confluence of a stream with the Willamette which furnishes an extensive water power on the one hand and transportation on the other.

The success of this enterprise, and there is no circumstance connected with it to indicate failure—opens to Oregon a new source of commerce and material wealth which can scarcely be over-estimated—vastly more beneficial and endurable in its results to the State than a mine of the precious metals. Gold and silver mines furnish employment only for a brief period to those engaged in the pursuit and are soon exhausted; the proceeds pass into other channels and float away, leaving the neighborhood no richer or more prosperous for having existed. The working of an iron mine is a perpetual source of supply to the elements of wealth included in industry manufactures, trade, commerce and general prosperity; its supply constantly increasing the demand. The multifarious manufactures of which iron forms the main staple will be stimulated and multiplied by the facility of supply. The establishing of iron works under such favorable auspices we regard as the beginning of a new era in the prosperity of Oregon. This enterprise is undertaken by Messrs. Green, Ladd, Leonard and several others of our most successful and enterprising business men, and will not fail for lack of energy or means devoted to its prosecution to a successful issue.


July 31, 1866, Oregonian

Money Market.

THE OREGON IRON COMPANY – The works inaugurated at Oswego by the Oregon Iron Company are recorded with the greatest satisfaction in all sections. We clip the following from the British Colonist, of Victoria: “Mr. Hibbard, of San Juan Island, who has returned from Oregon, has presented us with specimens of Oregon Iron ore from Oswego, a town situated on the Willamette river, six miles south of Portland. Oswego is destined to become the center of a great Iron producing district. The ore abound in the locality in great quantity, and a company, with a capital of $500,000, have already commenced building furnaces, and will soon be in successful operation.”


Oct. 27, 1866, Oregon City Enterprise p3

WEALTH OF CLACKAMAS COUNTY.—The events of the day are demonstrating the correctness of the views that the county of which Oregon City is the capital has more importance attached to it than any other county of the State. Commerce and navigation do not affect us, nor are we dependent upon mineral wealth, or agricultural resources. These we have, true enough, but the chief characteristics are based upon the unsurpassed water privileges in the county. This, at Oregon city, is abundant enough to supply manufactures more than equal to Lowell and Linn, Massachusetts, and the use already made of a portion of it is evidence that it will be availed of largely in future years. At Oswego the Oregon Iron Company have already started an enterprise which is more promising than any similar establishment upon the Pacific Coast. The iron beds in that locality are inexhaustible, and the water-privilege very greatly superior to ordinary privileges. Milwaukie also enjoys the facility of an abundance of water for the purposes of manufactures, and already has works which would be a credit to larger communities. The mountains to the East of Oregon City contain gold, but this is a secondary consideration. In agriculture the county is very rich. There is scarcely an acre of ground in the county that will not prove valuable under proper cultivation, and as an evidence of the fact we would refer [the] stranger to such farms as that of Mr. Samuel Miller, two miles west of the city, Mr. L. D. C. Latourette two miles east of the city, Wm. Barlow, ten miles south of the city, Judge Matlock, north east of the city, and a score of others we might mention.


Oct 27, 1866, Oregon City Enterprise p3

TOWN LOTS.—Messrs. J. C. Trullinger & Co. of Oswego, have had their land claim surveyed and laid off into lots, along the river, which are now selling at very reasonable rates. The high prices asked for lots in Oregon City in the early days, is what gave the town twelve miles below such a sudden start. Messrs. Trullinger & Co. realize what the future of Oswego is to be, very likely, and will not put an obstacle in the way of its prospects by taxing the new comer so heavily as to forever drive him away.

COLFAX.—A basket excursion is thought of, to take place soon, on the new line of transportation from Oswego. The Minnehaha, on Sucker Lake, will connect with the steamer Senator, and passengers will be taken from the upper end of the lake to Colfax by cars. At Colfax the steamer Yamhill, Capt. Kellogg, will be in readiness and proceed up the Tualatin with the excursionists, as far as Taylor’s bridge.


Nov. 3, 1866, Oregon City Enterprise

RARE CURIOSITY.—A few days ago the workmen employed in blasting rock at Oswego turned out a family of turtles, not very young, it is presumed, as they must have been encased for ages. Dr. Chapman, of Portland, was presented with the lot. The Oregonian says seven of them, about as wide as a half dollar, were able to be about and were quite lively, while two others were yet in the shell.


The Oswego Furnace under construction in 1866.  Photo courtesy of the Lake Oswego Public Library.

Nov. 17, 1866, The Weekly Enterprise p3

TOWN AND COUNTY. –THE OSWEGO FURNACE.—We recently passed down the river to Portland from this city, and observed that the “stack” of the first furnace being built at Oswego in this county, by the Oregon Iron Company, was rapidly assuming large proportions, and gave evident signs of soon becoming useful. The iron used in putting up this first furnace, we understand was imported. It will not be long, however, after it gets into operation, before this furnace will build others. Oswego is destined to become the Pittsburg of this part of America. In Pittsburg, there are at this time forty-one foundries. We predict that a quarter of that number will be in operation at Oswego inside of ten years from now. The Pittsburg foundries employ an average of fifty hands each. Where there are such resources there is something to support a population. In the first class establishments of Pittsburg from twenty-five to forty-five tons of metal is used in a single casting. The same can be done at Oswego. We look for the establishment of Rolling Mills to follow the manufacture of iron at Oswego. The one now being thought of in California must come to us for iron. There has not been a time, since the invention of Rolling Mills, when their production was greater needed than at present and this modern method of procuring the material in Oregon, when once fairly under say, promises great results.


Jan. 19, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise p3

TOWN AND COUNTY. –THE OSWEGO IRON WORKS.—Mr. Geo. H. Belden recently gave an article upon the Oswego Iron Works of this county, which contains some very interesting statistics. Mr. Belden is superintendent of the works, and consequently knows whereof he speaks. He says: “W. S. Ladd, Esq., is President of the company, and among its shareholders are numbered some of our best business men, also in San Francisco and New York City. The capital stock is $500,000. This is the first smelting furnace erected on the Pacific coast, and is situated at Oswego, on the left bank of the Willamette river, eight miles south of Portland, and in the heart of a large iron ore district. The beds of ore which are already prospected, and sufficiently developed to ascertain, approximately, their amount, contain at least two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) tons and are from three-fourths of a mile to two miles distant from the furnace. The lands upon which the ore is found in large quantities, is contracted to the company, and is contiguous to the furnace property. The quality of ore is approximately the same throughout the entire district around the furnace, and is found under the same geological conditions on a lava bedrock, which overlies the basalt, and is itself covered with detritus from the higher basaltic cliffs and by gravel, clay and sand. The beds (not veins) are irregular in shape and depth; generally inclined at an angle of eight or ten degrees, and seem to have been deposited from solution in the irregular depressions of the lava. No iron has been found except underlaid by this lava—a soft and porous rock, easily worked by pick and shovel. The stripping varies from a few inches to ten and twelve feet; no drifting or timbering will, therefore, be necessary; but the working of the mine will be by open cuts. The greatest thickness yet found in the beds is about ten feet; though beds are known of probably not less than thirty feet in close proximity to those most developed. The analysis by Messrs. Kellogg and Heuston, of San Francisco shows the ore to be a hydrated sesqui oxide; it is as follows:

  • Sesqui-Oxyde of Iron. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77.66 per cent
  • Moisture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.16      “
  • Insoluble Silica. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.08     “
  • Sulphur and Phosphorus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.10       “
  •            Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  100.00 per cent

Specific gravity 4.25, yielding 54.37 per cent of iron. The company are building a furnace (nearly completed) thirty-two feet in hight, with nine feet diameter of boshes capable of smelting 3,500 tons of pig iron per annum, with charcoal fuel, and hot blast of two pounds per square inch pressure. The masonry is of basaltic rock, massive, and reflects great credit on its builder, Mr. George D. Wilbur, of Sharon, Connecticut. The arrangement of coal sheds, coal yards, casting house, blast house, dam and flume, and all other requisites, are of the most convenient and substantial character; and the whole establishment will compare most favorably in every respect with the best Connecticut blast furnaces, after which this one has been modeled. Charcoal will be made on the company’s land, and the hills now resound with the chopping and blows of scores of woodmen’s axes, felling the large tracts of timber, preparatory for coaling next spring, as early as our wet climate will permit. The cost of the coal will not exceed Eastern prices, and so favorably are the ore beds situated, that $1.50 per ton will cover the cost of mining and delivering the same at the furnace. Nature has so thoroughly oxidized and disintegrated the ore, and it is so free from admixture with earthy or other foreign ingredients that little or no washing and roasting will be required to fit it for the furnace. Smelting operations will be commenced by July 1st, 1867.

1867 Plat small size
Plat of the town of Oswego filed by J. C. Trullinger in 1867.

Feb. 2, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise

OSWEGO.—We were shown the plat of Oswego a few days since—by the proprietor, Mr. J. C. Trullinger. The plat looks well on paper—streets, lots, blocks, etc., are well arranged—and long before the ENTERPRISE is of the age to which the Spectator would have now attained if living, those streets of Oswego will resound with the clash and clatter of industry. Look at Pittsburg for an example; Oswego has just as many resources, a few of which we shall speak of, probably next week.


March 12, 1867, Oregonian

Finished.—We are informed that the mason work at the Oswego Iron Smelting works was finished yesterday. The enterprising men who are managing the affairs of the company will very soon begin to realize some profit from their investment, and we shall be glad to note the fact.


March 18, 1867, Oregonian p3

Oswego Items.—The editor of the Oregon City Enterprise last week visited Oswego, and in Saturday’s issue of his paper says of the town and surroundings: This embryo Pittsburg is “coming out.” There are numerous new buildings in process of erection aside from the works of the Iron Company. On last Monday the steamer from this city to Portland took on board at Oswego about fifteen tons of the products of the Tualatin region, which reached there by the steamer from Hillsboro, via Colfax and the railroad and lake steamer of the Oswego Milling Company. We have frequently alluded to the prospects of Oswego. It is all that its friends claim for it, and its future career must be active. A project is being considered to bring the Tualatin river into Sucker Lake. The lake is three miles long with an average width of half a mile and depth of thirty-five feet. The lower end of the lake is not to exceed five hundred yards from the Willamette and the fall is ninety feet. By the introduction of the Tualatin it will be seen that a splendid addition may be made to the water power at Oswego. The Tualatin being twenty feet above the lake, a canal built for the purpose of uniting the two, would be serviceable as a connecting link for navigation. The distance this canal would have to traverse is 3,300 yards, and the deepest cut would be 18 feet for about 200 yards from the river, then gradually falling off, for three fourths of a mile. The excavation, it is estimated, will cost about $8,000. We understand that they are going to celebrate the Fourth of July, 1867, at Oswego, by running off the first bed of pig iron from the first blast furnace west of the Mississippi. Two hours work on Monday evening would have finished the masonry on the stack. The cold temperature that night, however, hindered operations somewhat.


April 6, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise

DIED.—On Friday evening last Mr. Wm. Blackwell who was recently injured by the fall of a derrick at Oswego, died from the effects of those injuries. Mr. Blackwell was from England. He leaves here a wife and two children to mourn his untimely fate. Friends of the family say that the Iron Company were unsparing of their attention to the unfortunate sufferer.  [Oregon Iron Co. payrolls list Wm. Blackwell as a cook and waiter.]


April 6, 1867, Sacramento Daily Union

LETTER FROM OREGON — SALEM, March 25, 1867 — Down the Wallamet River.  [Excerpt]

Last week I ventured down the river to take a look at Portland-on-the-Wallamet, mindful that many months had waxed and waned since your correspondent had properly overlooked it….

Below the Falls

Leaving Oregon city, its woolen and paper mills to the circuit Court, which was in session, we shot down past rather pleasant shores, that are more abrupt and graceful than the stretch of the upper river through prairie level. Sweeping down the Clackamas rapids, the Alert is soon opposite Oswego, where quite an embryo settlement is springing up as the works there progress. Three-quarters of a mile back are the iron beds that promise so much for us, and at the river bank is the “stack” where pig iron is to be manufactured at the rate of ten tons a day. Not a large amount, surely, but a beginning that may grow into iron pigs and throw into the shade ordinary Oregon pork. I confess that the size of the “stack” rather took me aback, but then I reasoned that if a small stack can pay, there is no doubt large ones can be erected. The manufacturers want to test the thing carefully, and while they are prudent men they are also men of means, and can prosecute the enterprise as far as success will justify. We hope to see rolling mills running in good time, and much sooner we expect to see the native pigs cast into stoves and many other articles now imported from the East. The manufacture of stoves will commence as soon as the pigs can be afforded at a price that will justify it. Won’t it be jolly to have a cook stove or parlor affair without being obliged to read “Troy” or “Albany, N. Y.” upon it? The manufacture of pig iron here at reasonable rates will give our iron works and machine shops a great percentage over those in San Francisco for the supply of the wants of our own region and Idaho.


April 10, 1867, Oregonian p2

Protest against Chinese Labor

We, the citizens of Oswego and surrounding country, having heard the rumor that the Oregon Iron Company are about to force upon this community a large horde of Chinese laborers, to carry on their works, therefore,

We, the undersigned, assembled in mass meeting, as men considering our own interests, present and future, do protest as follows against the introduction of Chinese in our midst, either by companies or individuals:

Resolved, That judging from our experience in other localities, the fact has been demonstrated that the introduction of Chinese, as laborers or residents, has proved a scathing blight upon every city, town or hamlet where they have been introduced upon this coast.

Resolved, That we do not believe Chinese labor to be as profitable to the employer as white labor, and wholly unprofitable to merchant, mechanic, or laborer,–a bane upon society and a nuisance totally intolerable.

Resolved, That while we [do] not wish to dictate to companies or individuals, as to the investment of capital; yet we cannot regard the introduction of Chinese labor in our midst with the least toleration.

Resolved, That while we entertain a high regard for the Oregon Iron Company, and deem the work they have done here worthy of the men engaged in the enterprise; yet we think they should remember that it is the Anglo Saxon race, and not the Mongolian, that make a market for their iron.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the President of the Oregon Iron Company, and also be published in the Oregonian and Herald.

  • L Ball,                             J A McDonald,            L Davidson
  • Wm Pennington,       Chas Burnell,              Henry Clockey,
  • John Q Welch,              F Blonge,                     S H Holland,
  • J Blonge,                        A Leuzis                       H Martin,
  • Louis Garnor,              P Maguire,                   A Bourg,
  • A L Bouise                     John Balsoe,                J M Chambers,
  • Chas Morris                 Geo Boulet,                  M Feizer,
  • J C Davidson,                W M Moss                    D P Trullinger,
  • A Cleaveland,               S H Tryon                     C L Furguson,
  • R T DeLashman           Geo Mener,                  A E Davidson,
  • Jas Parrish,                   Wm Chambers,           Frank Ford,
  • L H Clakins                   D Reimand,                  H D McGowen,
  • J Mason,                        P Harper,                      A Nelson,
  • J Dougherty,                 J Duffy,                         James Smith

J. W. CAIN, Chairman

H. H. McCORD, Secretary


April 10, 1867, Oregonian p3

CHEAP LABOR—INDIGNATION MEETING.—Yesterday morning, the Oregon Iron Company sent up eighteen Chinamen to work in their iron mine at Oswego. The white employes hearing of the intention to send up a lot of Chinamen, held an indignation meeting Monday evening, at which resolutions were passed and the matter generally discussed. We learn that there was some disposition to repel by violence, the introduction of the Chinamen, but they were landed from the Alert and went to the mine without disturbance. The too great cost of white labor is said to be the reason for the employment of Chinamen. The San Francisco press has, with few exceptions, defended the employment of Chinese laborers on the public works and in the factories, on the ground that they were the only cheap laborers and that the rates asked by white men were so high as to put competition with eastern manufacturers, entirely beyond all possibility. They say that the factories must have cheap labor or be crushed out of existence by the “pauper labor” in the factories of the Eastern States and England. How true that is, or whether such a state of things exists in Oregon, we have not the means of knowing fully. We know that the prices of labor, kept up by our proximity to the mines, have always been a great obstacle in the way of introducing manufacturing establishments and it may be true now, for aught we know, that manufacturers are under the necessity of either employing cheaper labor or suspending operations.


April 12, 1867, Oregonian p3

CHINESE LABORERS AT OSWEGO.–A couple of days since we published the resolutions adopted at Oswego, on the matter of introducing Chinese laborers into the iron mines at that place, and we also noticed the fact that a number of Chinamen had been sent there from this city. We are informed by a gentleman connected with the works that the persons whose names are signed to the resolutions, are not employees of the Oregon Iron Company; that no white laborers have been discharged to give place to Chinamen, and that there is no probability that any will be. There is a sort of work which the Company think can be done by Chinamen, cheaper than by white laborers and in which no white men have been regularly employed, as yet. It is this work which the Chinamen have been put upon, and our Informant says that their employment gives no dissatisfaction to the present white laborers for the Company.


April 12, 1867, Daily Alta California (San Francisco)


The Oregon Iron Company are pressing operations at Oswego, and efforts will be made to make the first blast in July.


April 13, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise p3

A BLIGHT ON OSWEGO.—The Oregon Iron Company have sent Chinese to Oswego to carry on the work of getting out ore, preparing wood for coal, etc. It may be right, but at all events we fail to see any advantages the State will gain by the movement. The people of Oswego remonstrated against the plan of the Company in respectful terms. We quote from their protest:

Resolved, That judging from our experience in other localities, the fact has been demonstrated that the introduction of Chinese, as laborers or residents, has proved a scathing blight upon every city, town or hamlet where they have been introduced upon this coast.

Resolved, That we do not believe Chinese labor to be as profitable to the employer as white labor, and wholly unprofitable to merchant, mechanic, or laborer,–a bane upon society and a nuisance totally intolerable.

Resolved, That while we [do] not wish to dictate to companies or individuals, as to the investment of capital; yet we cannot regard the introduction of Chinese labor in our midst with the least toleration.

Resolved, That while we entertain a high regard for the Oregon Iron Company, and deem the work they have done here worthy of the men engaged in the enterprise; yet we think they should remember that it is the Anglo Saxon race, and not the Mongolian, that make a market for their iron.

The Oregonian of yesterday states that the Chinese are not put at work upon which white men were employed. That no white laborers have been discharged and that there is no probability that any will be.


April 13,1867, The Weekly Enterprise

THE QUESTION OF LABOR.– There is a class of persons on the Pacific coast, who, but recently poor themselves, have nothing encouraging to say to their fellow-men who may be at the bottom rungs of the ladder of life. This class generally go heart and soul in favor of encouraging the introduction of Chinese laborers however, and attempt to show that the States of California and Oregon are sadly in want of the moon-eyed thieves. We will admit that labor is high on this coast, in comparison with other States, but the remedy can be bad without taking such vigorous measures to introduce Coolies among us. If the Pacific Mail Steamship Company would agree to make a fair distinction by admitting laboring people to come to California from New York, as cheaply in proportion as they now bring the slaves from China by the Colorado, in our opinion it would be the better policy in the long run.


May 5, 1867, Marysville Daily Appeal (Marysville, CA)

The Oregon Iron Company employ Chinese only in throwing out the ore; and give as a reason therefor that they cannot pay white labor prices and compete with Eastern or European iron.


May 25, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise

The schooner Alfred Crosby, from San Juan Island, was towed up to Oswego on Monday morning, by the steamer Senator, laden with limestone, etc., for the Iron works.  We have a hope that at an early day Clackamas county can furnish an article equally as good from the quarry of Mr. E. Weddel.


June 15, 1867, The Weekly Enterprise

THE OREGON IRON COMPANY.—We cannot pass Oswego lately, without feelings of gratified pride and thankfulness. We look upon the achievements of the Oregon Iron Company there, as already something wonderful. We feel that aside from the valuable manufacturing interests of this place, their steps at Oswego are the most important that have ever been taken in the direction of permanent prosperity in our State. The works, yet incomplete, stand there to-day as the evidence of what capital will do for us all, when it becomes assimilated with the innumerable natural resources of Oregon. We honor the gentlemen who have made this beginning—who have transplanted their cash from the bank vaults where it, to all practical purposes, was useless to call congenial to all enterprises of like character, and if we can persuade Monroe & Mellen to furnish the stones we shall erect upon the grounds of the Clackamas Base Ball Club a fitting tribute to their energy. Otherwise we will give them our best thanks, and send it broadcast on the Wings of thought, as a token of our respect for their unflinching perseverance.


June 27, 1867, Oregonian p3

LIME.—The San Juan lime, not heretofore in general use in this city, although last year a limited quantity of it was used, is likely to become an article of considerable importance in this section. The most of the cargo of the Crosby consisted of this lime and the rock from which it is burned. McCraken, Merrill & Co. and Everding & Beebe are the agents. The lime is now being used in the construction of the building being erected on the site of the old Bank of British Columbia, where it can be inspected. The Crosby is engaged to furnish 150 tons per month of the rock to the Iron Works at Oswego, to be used in smelting.


July 27, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise p2

QUICK TRIPS.—The schooner Alfred Crosby this week left Oswego for San Juan for her fourth cargo of limestone for the Iron Company. It seems but a short time since the first cargo was discharged.


July 27, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise p3

A Good Teamster.—On Tuesday last as the Senator neared Oswego two or three ox teams were driven in regular bullwhacker style down to the margin of the river to load limestone for the furnace. The first team in the train was driven by Mr. J. C. Leonard, late of Portland and our informant states that he used his “gad” in first rate style, and says he must be a good driver.


August 3, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise p2

Oswego Post Office.—Mr. J. A. MacDonald has received all the papers necessary, and assumed the duties of Post Master, at Oswego. His office is on Green street, and is very conveniently situated. Mr. MacDonald is one of the new-comers who has taken hold with a will and determination at that new town. He has already built two or three houses, and has further improvements in contemplation. Mr. MacDonald will act as agent for the ENTERPRISE at Oswego and subscribers there will find the papers at his office on Saturday evening of each week.


August 24, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise p2

New Restaurant.—We learn that Mr. Jacob Brem, long and favorably known as a steward in Oregon waters, has opened a restaurant on Green street, Oswego. It will be a convenient place for excursionists and visitors to lunch at, on their rounds about this embryo Pittsburg.


165 enhanced
The works of the Oregon Iron Company at the confluence of Sucker Creek and the Willamette River.  Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Public Library.

August 27, 1867, Oregonian p3

City:  OSWEGO IRON WORKS. — In company with Mr. Goodwin of Ladd & Tilton’s banking house, Mr. Bull, local editor of the Herald, and Mr. Scott, editor-in-chief of this paper, we visited the Iron Works at Oswego, yesterday. The works have been in full operation since last Saturday morning, and thus far, every result has been most satisfactory. It is cause for sincere rejoicing that the efforts of the enterprising company which has undertaken the development of this most important resource of our State, are now almost sure to be rewarded with complete success. It would be difficult to name an interest on this coast which may affect the general prosperity, more directly and permanently than the successful working of our iron mines. It is not so much that the proprietors may make money out of them, but it is that some of the chief courses of trade and manufactures will be turned in entirely new channels. These works, if present prospects are hereafter realized, will be able to supply the greater part of the demand of the whole coast for raw iron. This alone is a vast interest; but when we take into consideration that iron rolling mills, and manufacturing establishments of various kinds will surely follow the success of this pioneer effort, the interest which the whole country has in it, is immense–entirely beyond the possibility of present conception. In view of this, we shall certainly not be censured if we devote to the various matters connected with these works, the greater part of our column, to-day.


The “Oregon Iron Company” was incorporated, by signing, and filing articles in the offices of the County Clerk of this county and of the Secretary of the State, on the 24th day of February, 1865. The incorporators were H. D. Green, W. S. Ladd and John Green. The capital stock was fixed at five hundred thousand dollars. The stock was soon taken, the number of stockholders being twenty, including many of our most sagacious and energetic business men. On the 13th of May, following, the stockholders held their first meeting and organized under the provisions of the statute by electing a board of Directors consisting of W. S. Ladd, H. C. Leonard, John Green, T. A. Davis, P. C. Schuyler, H. D. Green and Henry Failing. At a subsequent meeting of the Directors, W. S. Ladd was chosen President; H. C. Leonard, Vice President, and H. D. Green, Secretary. Mr. P. C. Schuyler is at present acting Secretary.


Thus far, the sum of all the assessments levied on the stock is only twenty-seven per cent, all of which has been paid in with the exception of $11,000, delinquent by three of the stockholders. The expenditures for building, opening the mines, constructing machinery, and stocking with material was, up to the 1st of August, between $124,000 and $125,000. Since that date, there have been, of course, some further expenditures which can, at present, only be estimated; but the total amount is probably within $126,000.



The company having prospected the mine which is about two and a half miles from the present village of Oswego, and having had the ore thoroughly tested, began excavating for the walls of the furnace and tower, on the 21st of May, 1865. Since then the work of building and opening the mine has been carried on without more than temporary suspensions till the present day. The works are run by water, taken from Oswego Lake. The dam across the creek just below the foot of the lake, is 148 feet in length and 22 feet in height, and is a structure of great strength. The flume, by which water is conveyed to the works, is 900 feet long and 3 feet square. The machinery in the blast-house is driven by one of Leffel’s Double Turbine water wheels, which also works a force pump for supplying the tanks with water. The Blast House, (where the wind is made) is 38 feet square and 20 feet high. The Casting House is 136 feet long, 58 feet wide and is a 12 feet story. The Stack Frame is 34 feet square and 32 feet high. The Top House is 34 feet square and 20 feet high. The stack and chimney together are 65 feet in height. The Bridge House is a twelve feet story, 129 feet long and 25 feet wide; one end resting on the ground on the hill side, the other supported on heavy truss work and connecting with the stack. The first Coal House, connecting with the Bridge House, is a 12 feet story, 148 feet long and 38 feet wide. The second Coal House, standing a little apart from the other, is a 24 feet story, 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. The Water Tank is 12 feet square and eight feet deep. These are the buildings which constitute the works proper; but the company has one or two other buildings in the village, one of which is a storehouse 50×37 feet and a story and a half high. The stack within which is the furnace, is a massive pile of masonry 32 feet square at the base and 34 feet high. There is probably not a finer or stronger piece of masonry on this coast than this stack. The capacity of the furnace is about 800 bushels. The buildings are supplied or to be supplied everywhere with water pipes to be used both in the ordinary daily operations, and in case of fire. Everything about the entire works is constructed for strength and duration. In this respect, the company has wisely thought that the additional cost of heavy, strong, and finished work above that of mere make-shift, cannot fail to be returned in the duration of the works. The machinery of the blast house is massive, and finely finished. The blast of air is obtained by the use of two large air pumps, whose pistons attach to the ends of a huge walking beam. The air is forced through a Regulator which serves to keep the current constant. In the regulator, as the machinery was driven yesterday, the pressure of air was five-eights of a pound to the square inch. From the Regulator, the air is forced through a long pipe to the top of the stack when it goes through several large cast tubes so placed as to be all the time red hot. This is for the purpose of heating the air before it strikes the fire and mass of ore at the bottom of the furnace. From these heating tubes, the air then goes through large tubes concealed in the masonry, to the bottom of the furnace where it is discharged with great force into the interior of the furnace. The effect upon the burning mass of coal, ore and lime is something too fierce for description. To prevent the end of the air pipe from being consumed by the intense heat, it is inserted in a massive piece of casting, called a tuier [sic] and which is subjected to a constant stream of cold water.


165 detail b
Pressurized air was sent from the Blast House (on the left) through a long pipe to the heat exchanger on top of the furnace (in the tall building on the right).  Detail of photo in the collection of the Lake Oswego Public Library.


The first casting of iron into pigs was made on Saturday, August 24th. The manner of doing it is something as follows: Of course the furnace has had fire in it for some time and was hot when the work began. The workmen first put in at the top, 26 bushels of coal, then 800 pounds of ore, adding to this mass about twenty percent of lime stone. This proportion is observed till the furnace is full. The limestone and ore are broken under the hammer, before being put in the furnace. The use of the lime is to amalgamate with itself all the dross and impurities of the ore, released in the process of smelting. This dross is constantly drawn off from the furnace at the hearth, and when cooled is thrown away. The Company propose to use it for grading their roads and grounds. When the reservoir at the bottom gets full, the hearth is tapped, the molten iron runs off in a sparkling white stream, down a channel to the pit where it falls, first, into a gutter called the sow, and from this into smaller and shorter gutters where the iron is shaped into pigs. Yesterday the hearth was tapped twice, the result being about six tons of pig iron. It is expected that, when the furnace gets formed and thoroughly heated, the company will be able to cast three times at least in 24 hours, making between three and four tons at each casting. The ore now used yields about 55 per cent of iron which would be considered anywhere in the world, very rich. The coal costs about 6 cents per bushel. Lime costs $6 per ton. The ore is estimated to cost about $1.75 per ton. The company is now employing 80 men as miners, coal burners and heavers, teamsters and artisans at the works. The coal houses now have in them about 80,000 bushels of coal and it is coming in at the rate of about 2,500 bushels per day. The iron thus far cast, is pronounced by Mr. Harris, the superintendent of the Works, and by other competent judges, to be equal in quality to any made in the United States. It is very soft and very fine in grain, and, it is said, might be worked into castings for machinery as run off from the furnace.

To conclude this article we will mention that, of the first casting, Mr. J.C. Trullinger, the proprietor of the town site, has secured two pigs which he will have engraved with his own initials, the date of casting and the trade stamp of the company, and then planted as street monuments at the corners of blocks No. 1 and 2, at the junctions of Furnace, Ladd and Durham streets.


August 31, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise

Oswego Iron.—The Willamette Iron Works, and the Portland foundry, are both using iron made at Oswego.


Sept. 6, 1867, Oregonian

OREGON IRON FOR SAN FRANCISCO.—It will be noticed that the Montana’s freight list contains as one of the items of freight, “50 tons pig iron.” This is the initial shipment of Oregon iron, and, naturally enough, the manner of its reception in California will be waited for with some interest. Should its qualities be acknowledged there as claimed here, we may reasonably expect that Oregon will in a short time supply California to the exclusion of imported raw iron. It is confidently stated that the pigs can be laid down in San Francisco at a less figure


Sept. 7, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise p2

Oregon Machinery.—Mr. D. Monnastes, the Pioneer foundryman of Portland, one day last week, cast at his foundry, several pieces of machinery for the flouring mill of Mr. Kinney, of McMinnville, using only Oswego pig iron. The Oregonian says the universal verdict is that the castings are excellent, combining both smoothness and strength. Mr. Monnastes and several other experienced workers in iron say without hesitation that it is the best they ever saw. As compared with Scotch pig, it is finer and more even in grain and vastly more difficult to break and is of course proportionately superior for machinery. The machine cast by Mr. M., it is expected, will be in place in the mill and running on Saturday, just one week from the time when the first pig of Oregon iron was run off from the furnace at Oswego.


Sept. 10, 1867, Daily Alta California


A man named Patrick McManus, a teamster, who has been in the employment of the Oregon Iron Company, at Oswego for nearly a year, was thrown from a wagon on Saturday last, and falling before the wheels, was run over and crushed about the neck and jaws in a horrible manner. A couple of other teamsters, who witnessed the accident from some distance, immediately ran to his assistance, and took him to the Company’s works, where he received all possible medical care, but to no purpose.


Sept. 14, 1867, Oregon Sentinel p2

Manufactures of various kinds are being carried on with success and profit.  The greatest of these is the Iron Works at Oswego, which is the only establishment of the kind on the Pacific Coast.  With the present facilities, about 20,000 pounds of pig iron is turned out per day.  This enterprise will not only prove a great benefit to the corporators, but to the whole state.


Sept. 19, 1867, Oregonian

OSWEGO IRON IN SAN FRANCISCO.—The shipment of Oswego iron per steamer Montana, is thus noticed by the Bulletin of the 9th inst: “The steamship Montana, from Portland, arrived this morning, with 6,000 [illegible], $100,000 in treasure and 50 tons pig iron, the last named article being the first invoice from the new Oregon Iron Works. These works, the only ones of the kind on the Pacific coast, are located on the Willamette river, about seven miles above Portland. * * * The works are capable of turning out 12 tons of pig iron daily. It is said that the above sample just received by the steamer will be distributed among the foundries of the city for the purpose of testing the quality.

WILLAMETTE FREIGHTS.—Arrived per steamer Senator, yesterday, from Oregon City—2 bales woolen goods, 40 bags oats, 9 sacks fruit, 1 half bbl butter and 2 tons Iron from Oswego.


Sept. 20, 1867, Oregonian

The “Crosby.”—The schooner Alfred Crosby arrived from Victoria on Tuesday with 100 tons lime rock for the Oswego Iron Works, 100 bbls lime, 100 cases and S bbls dog-fish oil. The Senator towed her up to Oswego yesterday morning.


Sept. 20, 1867, Oregonian p3

THIRTY-EIGHT PIGS AT ONE LITTER.—The Albany Journal says: “Below Oregon City, towards Oswego, an old sow is seen that lately furnished her owner with a fine start in her line, as she brought forth thirty-eight pigs in one litter.” The Journal tells the story only half large enough: there were between sixty and seventy of the pigs, each of which weighed about one hundred pounds. The iron constitution of the parent was wholly unimpaired and the whole family are “as well as could be expected.”


pig iron detail
Stacks of pig iron.

Sept. 29, 1867, Daily Alta California

Oregon Iron.—We notice on exhibition, at the Merchant’s Exchange, a pig of iron from the works of the Oregon Iron Company, located at Oswego, seven miles above Portland, on the Willamette River. This is one of seventy-six pigs run on the 25th of August, 1867, the first ever produced on the Pacific Coast. It takes a good polish, indicating a fine grain, and it is said to compare favorably with the imported article.


Oct. 1, 1867, Oregonian

City.  HARD IRON – Some days ago, several pigs of “hard iron” were received at one of the foundries here, from the works at Oswego. That kind of iron is not often made without very perfect treatment of the ore, and it is not all ore that will make it, even with the most careful management. This run of hard iron was the result of what is called a “cold blast.” We are not certain that we understand precisely what a cold blast is, nor is it necessary that our readers should understand it. The fact that “hard iron” can be made at Oswego whenever wanted, is the material fact we have to deal with. The pigs sent here have been cast into shoes for quartz crushers, by Mr. Monnastes, who says that the shoes will be as durable as if made of steel. The iron is as hard as flint and at the same time is peculiarly tough—two qualities, which, of all others, for such uses, are most desirable, in combination, and which are rather rarely found together. This iron was not put through any process for hardening, but was used at the foundry exactly as it came from the smelting furnace. The cheapness of such shoes, the cost of the work being no greater than ordinary castings, will create a demand for them in all the mining camps of the coast, and thus add materially to the value of our iron product.


Nov. 23, 1867, Oregonian

CASTING – We learn that the experiment of casting direct from the smelting furnace at Oswego has been made this week with perfect satisfactory results.


Nov. 23, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise

CASTING AT OSWEGO.—On Wednesday last the iron works at Oswego tried the plan of casting from the furnace, which was successful. It was proven beyond a doubt, by this effort, that all kinds of hollow ware, stoves, etc., as well as machinery, may be made in Oswego from the blast furnace equally as well as from the Cupola of Portland works.


Dec. 7, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise

The syphon pipes which furnish the hot blast at the Oswego furnace were lately melted, and new ones had to be put in—to do which Mr. Harris entered the hot place, and stood the test of heat long enough to finish the work, coming out without being liquefied or roasted.


Dec. 7, 1867, Oregonian

IN THE FURNACE – The Enterprise says: “The syphon pipes which furnish the hot blast at the Oswego furnace were lately melted, and new ones had to be put in—to do which, Mr. Harris entered the hot place, and stood the test of heat long enough to finish the work, coming out without being liquefied or roasted.” That may be pretty good for Mr. Harris; but it don’t amount to much when compared with the exploits of three of our old acquaintances—Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego—who, some years ago, walked about very cooly in old Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace when it was heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated. Shadrach & Co. had on all their good clothes, too—“their coats, their [illegible], and their hats and their other garments”—and they came out, “nor was a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” That story bears you, Bro. Ireland.


Dec. 10, 1867, Oregonian p3

ABOUT PIG IRON. –Among the items of freight landed yesterday, from the Ajax, we noticed a quantity of pig iron, for the Oregon Iron Works [a Portland foundry, not to be confused with the iron company in Oswego]. We were naturally surprised at this, because there is an iron smelting works within seven miles of this city, which is turning out more pig iron than all the foundries in the Willamette valley can use up. At a later house, visiting the Willamette Iron Works, we made inquiry whether the Scotch pig is superior to the Oswego iron, and received a negative answer. Why then do the foundries here buy iron at San Francisco? The answer to this, was, that iron could be landed at the wharf from San Francisco for less money than from Oswego. This may seem strange to most people, but the figures support the statement. The Oswego Co., as late as the 2d day of November, charged [illegible] per ton for their pig iron on the bank of the river at Oswego, and that is the price now for aught the public know to the contrary. The steamer charges $1 per ton for freighting it to Portland, making the cost delivered on the wharf, $51 per gross ton. Scotch pig can be bought in small lots at San Francisco for $37.50 per gross ton. The freight, primage, wharfage, etc., amount to 3 51/2 more, making the aggregate cost, delivered on the wharf in Portland, $46.04 or $1.96 less than Oswego iron. In large quantities the iron can be got in San Francisco at $35 per ton, freight and other charges the same as above—making a difference of $7.46 in favor of buying in San Francisco. It is not presumable that Oswego iron sells in San Francisco at a higher figure than does Scotch pig. If it sells for the same then the foundries of this city can and will save a handsome margin by purchasing Oswego Iron at San Francisco instead of buying at Oswego, seven miles away. “That’s what’s the matter with Hannah!” The foundrymen say they cannot stand the Oswego figures and that they are driven to buy at San Francisco.


Dec. 14, 1867, Oregon Sentinel (Jacksonville)

A success is thus chronicled by the Portland Herald of the 7th inst: During the present week experiments have been made at Oswego in casting water pipes direct from the stack or furnace. The result of the experiment arrived down from Oswego on Thursday but escaped our observation, our attention not being called to it by those who ought to be deeply interested; but yesterday we cursorily examined the pipe and came to the conclusion that had we not been informed as to where it had been cast, we would certainly have supposed that it was done at either the Willamette or Oregon Iron Works. The casting is clear and beautiful and possesses a silvery tint, such as is peculiar to Oswego iron. Perhaps further experiments will develop more resources in the Oswego Iron Works than ever was dreamed of by the stockholders who so lavishly bestowed their money upon the enterprise.


Dec. 14, 1867, Oregon City Enterprise

Oswego Iron is sold at a fair living rate. The furnace is in full blast, and as soon as the speculative feeling of Consignees at San Francisco is over with, there will be a demand for it.


March 7, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise p3

OSWEGO CASTINGS.—On Tuesday last a common stove, cast at Oswego blast furnace, was sent to Portland, and created quite a sensation. No more “hollow-ware” nor “pig iron” need come in ships to Oregon. Clackamas county is prepared to stock the coast. In fact, we are informed that it is in contemplation to erect a rolling mill, for the make of railroad iron at Oswego. All the chairs for the Oregon Central R. R. and the Yamhill branch can be had at Oswego.  [“Chairs” were cast iron fittings that joined the ends of adjacent rails and fixed them to the railroad ties.]


March 28, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

Court Calendar — LAW DOCKET

The Oregon Iron Company vs J. C. Trullinger. Transferred to Multnomah co. by stipulation.


April 4, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

CLOSED.—The iron works at Oswego “blowed out” on the 27th for repairs. These works have proven by the first run, that iron of the very best quality can be made in Clackamas county. We predict that Oregon iron, like Oregon flour, will soon command a premium in San Francisco. We should like very much to witness the erection of a half dozen furnaces like this one, at Oswego—but will say just here by way of parenthesis that injunctions and law suits will never build a city. Look at Oregon City for example.


Ladd&TiltonBank a
The Ladd & Tilton Bank.  Etching from a 1905 Portland Fire Department Illustrated Souvenier.

May 2, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

The Willamette Iron Works have contracted to do the iron work for the exterior of the new Bank building, to be erected this season at Portland. The iron used will be of Oswego make.  [This was the Ladd & Tilton Bank, the first bank in Oregon.]


May 12, 1868, Oregonian p1

Notice.  The Annual Meeting of Stockholders of the Oregon Iron Company for the ELECTION OF DIRECTORS will be held at the Principal Office at Oswego on Friday, May 15th. 1868, at 10 o’clock A. M.

P. C. Schuyler, Jr., Portland, Oregon, April 14, 1868


May 16, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

CLACKAMAS COUNTY IRON.—We are glad to hear that at last Californians have resorted to Oregon for iron. The stock last year imported into San Francisco for the purpose of Bear-ing the iron market, is now exhausted, and Oswego pig is sought at a fair valuation. The works at Oswego will not remain idle a very great while longer.


May 26, 1868, Oregonian

TO LOAD WITH IRON. – The Brewster will go to Oswego in the course of a day or two to take in part cargo of pig iron, for the San Francisco market—probably 200 or 250 tons. The balance of her cargo will be taken on at this city.


May 26, 1868, Oregonian p3

ABOUT TO RESUME WORK.—We are informed that the furnace at the Oswego Iron Works, which has been idle for some weeks; undergoing repairs, will be fired up again to-day for another year’s service. We are glad to note that the California market is beginning to take considerable quantities of our Oregon Iron.


May 30, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

The Oswego Iron Works began operations again on Tuesday last.


June 6, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

The Brewster and Occident will both load partly with iron from the Oswego furnace on orders from San Francisco.


June 11, 1868, Oregonian

Circuit Court Docket.—June Term, 1868 – W. W. Upton, Judge

CHANCERY SUITS–The Oregon Iron company vs John C. Trullinger & Co.


July 18, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

It is feared that the Oswego Iron Works will be compelled to blow out the present blast. This will be some time before the company had anticipated such a thing, and it all comes, perhaps, from a misunderstanding relative to their water power. If the water power is to be such a source of annoyance, they had better throw away their turbine, and put in an engine.


July 22, 1868, Oregonian

BLOWING OUT.—The Oswego Iron Works began blowing out yesterday, and will suspend operation till the dead-lock with Mr. Trullinger can be arranged.


July 31, 1868, Oregonian

FENCED IN.—We learn that the roads leading to, and from the Iron Works at Oswego have been fenced up by the proprietor of the town. This action has put an end to the work of the Iron Company for the time being. We predict that action will be taken very soon which will result in putting money into the pockets of somebody, lawyers at least, but it is a disadvantage to the country that these parties cannot amicably adjust their difficulties without hindering the progress of important interests by the “laws delay.”


August 5, 1868, Oregonian p4

OPENED.—We learn that the roads and streets leading to and through Oswego, which were fenced up by the proprietor of the town not long since, have been opened by the county Road Supervisor.


August 15, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

Mr. George Walling, supervisor near Oswego is being prosecuted by J. C. Trullinger for opening what he considered a public highway. The case was before J. M. Bacon, Esq., of this city, this week, and submitted on Thursday.


August 22, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

The case of J. C. Trullinger vs. the Oswego Iron Works Co., was decided at Chambers, on the 17th by Judge Upton. We think neither party made anything by going to law unless it was the plaintiff. Both pay, each one half the costs. Now if they will take our advice, they will go about an amicable adjustment of affairs—revive business, and stop residents from leaving the place. The building up of Oswego is “busted,” unless they do.


Sept. 12, 1868, Oregon City Enterprise

The dam and flume of the Oswego Iron Company at Oswego seemed to be drying up for want of a little water, when we were there a few days ago. In a few years it will be common remark: “What might not have been Oswego,” only for the trouble of this year.


Ankeny arch
Cast iron front of the Ladd & Tilton Bank painted to look like marble.  Photo S. Kuo.

October 24, 1868, Oregonian p3

We notice that the bank building of Ladd & Tilton has been painted in imitation of stone. It presents a very fine appearance and is doubtless one of the best structures in the State. [The bank, built by W. S. Ladd, founder of the Oregon Iron Company, was the first Portland building to have a cast iron front made of Oregon iron.]


Dec. 5, 1868, The Weekly Enterprise

The Oregon Iron Company at Oswego have been for some time waiting for water sufficient for power to again begin operations. We presume they have it now.


Dec. 12, 1868, The Weekly Enterprise

A Clackamas county stove, that is to say: a cast iron stove made at Oswego is in use in this city, at the Circuit Court room. It is a nice specimen, and does its duty well.


Feb. 13, 1869, The Weekly Enterprise

TOWN AND COUNTY.  We have been invited to visit the residence of Mr. Wm. Cassaday, at Canemah, and inspect the first Oregon made cooking stove. Mr. C. is a furnace-man himself, made patterns for this stove, and cast it at Salem of Oswego Iron. He is of the opinion that all hollow-ware can be cast in Oregon, and be sold at a better profit than the imported article.


March 13, 1869, The Weekly Enterprise

The Oswego Iron Company have resolved to close up the furnace entirely, as soon as the present stock of ore and coal is exhausted, which will be about June 10th. Mr. Harris, the Superintendent of work, is now the only head man remaining at Oswego, and he will start for the Atlantic States as soon as work is suspended. This state of things is to be regretted very much, but we do not know as it can be helped. The company have demonstrated the fact that iron, equal to Scotch pig, can be made in Oregon. They also find it to be a profitable business, when not interrupted by law suits and delays. The chief cause for their determination to do as above stated is the same that would have caused the O. C. R. R. to give up in disgust long ago, if they had lacked “back bone;” and comes from the foolish opposition of parties who had not capital to carry on the business but seemed jealous of those who had, and having technical grounds upon which to base action, literally pitched into them, but for what object we are unable to say. Oswego is to-day much below what the friends of the place expected of it two years ago. When we, as Oregonians, learn to treat capitalists more deferential it will better benefit each and every one of us.


March 15, 1869, Oregonian

OSWEGO IRON WORKS. – The Oregon city enterprise says: “The Oswego Iron company have resolved to close up the furnace entirely, as soon as the present stock or ore and coal is exhausted, which will be about June 10th. Mr. Harris, the superintendent of work, is now the only head man remaining at Oswego, and he will start for the Atlantic States as soon as work is suspended. This State of things is to be regretted very much, but we do not know as it can be helped. The Company have demonstrated the fact that iron, equal to Scotch pig, can be made in Oregon. They also find it to be a profitable business, when not interrupted by lawsuits and delays. The chief cause for their determination to do as above stated is the same that would have caused the O. C. R. R. to give up in disgust long ago, if they had lacked “backbone;” and comes from the foolish opposition of parties who had not capital to carry on the business, but seemed jealous of those who had, and having technical grounds upon which to base action, literally pitched into them, but for what object we are unable to say.” Should the Company withdraw from Oswego and remove their works or allow them to remain idle, the parties litigant at Oswego will very soon find they have acted unwisely, and that they have not only given a vital stab at their own interests but have also done an injury to the general interests of the State. Enterprises of this sort should be fostered and encouraged by all possible means; for, by their success only can the country be developed and general prosperity be advanced.


April 16, 1869, Oregonian

Oregon Iron Co.

The Annual Meeting of the Stockholders of the OREGON IRON CO., for the election of Directors, will be held at the principal office of the Company in Oswego, on Saturday, May 15th, 1869, at 10 o’clock, A. M.

P. C. SCHUYLER, Jr., Secretary

Portland, Oregon, April 16, 1869


May 15, 1869, The Weekly Enterprise

All right minded people will regret to learn that the Oswego Iron Works have suspended operations. This is a blow at the prosperity of our young State—and we are sorry for it.


May 20, 1869, Sacramento Daily Union

The Oregonian has the following:  The Oswego Iron Works have suspended operations. This is a blow at the prosperity of our young State—and we are sorry for it.


May 25, 1869, Oregonian

OSWEGO IRON WORKS.—The Commercial says: “We learn that the Oswego Iron Works have ceased operations for good. The reason assigned, is, that the works have not proved as remunerative to the company as was at first supposed. We regret to learn this and hope that it may prove groundless.”

SHIPMENT OF PIG IRON.—A considerable quantity of pig iron was brought down yesterday from the Oswego Iron Works, to be shipped per steamer Oriflamme to San Francisco.


June 19, 1869, The Weekly Enterprise

While in Portland last week we were shown by Mr. W. E. Cooper, a rod of Oswego Iron, rolled at some San Francisco mills. The workmen in Mr. Cooper’s employ pronounced this iron equal to any in the world. Mr. Cooper took a piece of it—in our presence—and bent it over the anvil, fold, nearly double–yet it never “checked.” Mechanics are now using all the Oswego Iron that they can obtain, and it is a real pity that the Oswego Iron works are actually dead—and have been delivered over to the sexton for burial.


July 12, 1869, Oregonian p2


On the subject of iron the Herald remarks that “our iron-makers have only to be content with a small profit to enable them to compete with England, tariff or no tariff,” and produces some figures to bear out this assertion. Now no amount of figuring, based on erroneous premises, will successfully stand against practical facts. We have repeatedly shown that our efforts to manufacture iron have not been successful; for though the duty on iron is nine dollars per ton, foreign iron meets Oregon pig in our own markets. Nor is it because our iron-workers “are not content with a small profit.” Can it be supposed that the works at Oswego built at so great an expenditure of money, would be allowed to stand idle if the proprietors could make even a small profit? Would they not keep their blast going if they could make any profit however small, rather than suffer their capital to be idle, locked up entirely out of their reach? We think they would. The simple fact is that with wages at present rates it has been found impossible as yet to produce iron here at a profit which will pay for the capital invested. Without the duty on iron it would be madness to attempt to produce the native article at all.


Sept. 13, 1869, Oregonian

The Iron Market

The “commercial editor” of the Herald made the following observations on Saturday, relative to the iron market:

We have in our city alone four iron foundries, which, during the course of the year, consume a large amount of iron, which they, as a general thing, buy in San Francisco, for the reason that they can there purchase Oregon iron cheaper than they can in Oregon. Why is it that the company at Oswego cannot see that it would be to their interest to sell here at San Francisco prices, freight added? Iron is quoted in San Francisco at $37.50 per ton. The freight on the same from there to Portland is $4.50 per ton, making the price per ton laid down here, a little over $42, taking into account primage, etc. The Oswego company ask for their iron, at Oswego, $45 per ton, and freight from there here $1 per ton, makes the iron coast $46 per ton laid down here. Therefore, it is obvious that the foundries will buy in the cheapest market, and the Oswego company are left no other resource than to send their iron to San Francisco for a market. And what is the consequence? That company has to sell at San Francisco prices, viz: $37.50, and is thus a loser from their home price of $7.50 per ton; and not only that, but they must pay freight down, $4.50 per ton, making altogether a loss of $12 per ton, not taking into account commissions, etc. And this is altogether for the benefit of the California merchant. How much better it would be for the company to compete with California instead of playing into her hands. If they would put down their home prices to the same as the foundries can purchase in California and bring here for, say $42, they would be the gainer of over $10 per ton, and that amount would be kept amongst us in trade, instead of going to enrich our neighboring State.

This entire paragraph is a tissue of blunders and was written in utter ignorance both of the general subject and of the particular facts relating to it. The Oswego Company sell their iron here at $42.50 per ton, instead of at $46. The iron they sell for use here is strictly No. 1, while that sold in San Francisco is generally of a lower grade. But even these lower grades of Oregon iron command at this time $37.50 in San Francisco, while Scotch pig at last reports was quoted at $32 and $34. It is well known that some time ago the iron market in San Francisco broke down completely, and it is just now beginning to recover. Last May Oregon iron of the same quality with that now selling in San Francisco for $37.50, commanded $44 in that city. But at the same time the Oswego Company were selling at their works a better grade of their iron to Oregon foundries for $45, thus giving our own consumers a decided advantage. Some of the foundrymen here assert that they would not buy at any price the quality of iron shipped by the Oswego Company to San Francisco, though that quality, as stated above, stands higher than Scotch pig in that market. Accordingly the very best of the Oswego iron has been reserved for home consumption, and it has been furnished here for the same price,–freight added,–which the lower grades have brought in San Francisco; and sometimes it has been furnished at even lower figures. The astute “commercial editor” of the Herald should remember that the Oswego Company is composed of business men who understand what they are about too well to pursue a policy which would result in a loss of $12 per ton on the iron they make. We doubt whether they will consider it any favor for him to attempt to show them that they are conducting their business in such a way as to lose money, injure the State and play into the hands of California. Precise information on subjects treated of is a good and handy thing for a “commercial editor” to possess.

If our foundries are purchasing Oregon iron in San Francisco cheaper than they can get it here, they are buying an inferior grade, and purchasing it of parties who by these operations are trying to crowd Oregon iron out of the market and stop its manufacture. But we do not credit the statement. The Herald has probably been imposed upon by an interested party.