Historical Markers
Warwick Furnace Historical Marker
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Warwick Furnace

Philadelphia and its Countryside/Lehigh Valley


Marker Location:
PA 23 between Warwick and Knauertown

Dedication Date:
May 12, 1948

Behind the Marker

Pencil and Watercolor on paper of the Warwick Furnace.
Warwick Furnace, Chester County, by Henry Latrobe, May 6, 1803.
Located near the village of Warwick, in northern Chester County, Warwick Furnace was established in 1737 by Anna Nutt. She was the widow of Samuel Nutt, an English Quaker who had already built an ironworks at Coventry. Nutt named his wife, a nephew, Samuel Nutt, Jr., and Samuel Savage as his successors. He also directed in his will that the heirs should build a furnace on 120 acres of land on the south branch of French Creek.
Tract map of Warwick Furnace and surrounding lands.
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Tract map of Warwick Furnace and surrounding lands, 1768.

In accordance with the will, Anna–who retained the ironworks as well as the miners, forge men, colliers, blacksmiths, teamsters, and woodcutters her late husband had hired–constructed the furnace. According to the custom of the day, her workers built the furnace into a small hill so that the ore, limestone, flux, and charcoal–which burned hotter and cleaner than the wood from which it was produced–could be easily placed through the top. A sizeable operation, Warwick Furnace required the timber from 240 acres of forest for its annual operation. Large bellows operated by a huge waterwheel produced twenty-five tons or iron on a weekly basis, including pig iron and castings for pots, kettles, andirons, clock weights, and even the renown Franklin stoves among other household devices.

When Samuel Nutt, Jr., died in 1739, ownership of the furnace reverted to Anna and Samuel Savage, who operated it until his death in 1741. Operation of the furnace was then assumed by markerGeorge Taylor, who later became a member of the Second Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1752, Taylor left Warwick and entered a partnership with Samuel Flower in operating the markerDurham Furnace in upper Bucks County. Shortly after, Samuel Potts, of Pottstown, bought out the remaining heirs, and operated the furnace in partnership with Thomas Rutter.
Photo of the cast iron plate made by John Potts at Warwick or Pottsgrove Furnace, 1751; stove plate features German words that translate "the Life of Jesus was a light".
Warwick Furnace Cast-iron stove plate, 1751.

During the Revolutionary War, Warwick served as an important source of supplies for the Continental Army. The furnace operated almost constantly, producing cannon and cannon balls; and on September 16, 1777, after the so-called "Battle of the Clouds," General Washington retreated to Warwick to have the army's muskets repaired.
Color image of the Mansion and grounds.
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Warwick Furnace Mansion

While the majority of his troops remained at Warwick, Washington maintained his headquarters at nearby Yellow Springs. Continental troops took all the leaden clock weights they could muster from the residents of the village and had them melted down at the furnace to be remolded into musket balls.

In the mid-1800s, the use of hard coal as a domestic heating fuel relegated the older, ten plate style iron stoves manufactured at Warwick Furnace obsolete. The Potts family shut down the furnace in 1867.
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