May 04-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: May: May 04-06
Charcoal kiln    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Bill Haller
Kiln legend    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Bill Haller


By
Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 05:43 am:

When you think about charcoal, you automatically think about barbecuing at a picnic, but today's shots from Bill Haller, show us what charcoal was used for and how it was made in the late 1800's. If, like me, you've never really given a second thought to the where and how charcoal is made, then this Charcoal Kiln, located in Marquette should interest you too. Seems between 1874 and 1907, the Marquette Iron Range used charcoal burned in kilns like the one pictured above, to supply fuel for the Carp River Blast Furnace, where ore was reduced to pig iron. Looks like they've bolstered up the kiln so that future generations will be able to actually see and learn about this part of mining history for years to come. Thank goodness for folks with that kind of foresight!


By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 06:54 am:

Mornin', facinating.


By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 07:13 am:

Morning. That was very interesting, definitely something I didn't know.


By JOHN AND ANNE KENTUCKY (Username) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 08:05 am:

We have a friend up from Mexico who was just telling us about his charcoal making days.They call it carbone down there.At age six he would dig holes in the ground twenty feet across and ten to fifteen feet deep.They would then fill this with wood,cover with soil and let burn thru the night.Then pack it up and carry it all to town.Makes you appreciate how easy we have it,just go to the store and grab a bag for the grill.


By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 08:07 am:

That's true Mary. I've stopped at that site as a
kid and later as an adult, but until I read your
message of the day, I don't think I had ever
processed what I was seeing. As the grand
daughter two miners and the niece of another,
this is information I want to know.


By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 08:13 am:

Just to add to the sign above, charcoal is produced from wood by heating it in a reducing (low oxygen) atmosphere. Once the charcoal comes out, it is almost pure carbon. When it is burned in the furnace, some of that carbon is released into the molten iron; this is the reason pig iron has a high carbon content of around 3-4%. You can click on the link Mary provided to get "the rest of the story" on how steel is made from pig iron.

One other note; just outside Christmas on M-28 there is a little federal park/campground called Bay Furnace. In there are a couple of the blast furnaces used to melt the iron ore into pig iron. I believe the blast furnaces at Bay Furnace are of the same design used at the Carp River Blast Furnace. If your driving through that area it is definitely worth the stop.....


By JohnS (Jksturos) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 08:17 am:

Interesting topic and photos today.
I might just have to grab the bag of charcoal and grill out tonight!


By Robert Goniea (Rjgoniea) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 08:38 am:

Capt Paul, Bay Furnace has been featured here on pasty cam: September 18, 2004

The photographer is a good friend of mine.;)

Photo by Robert Goniea

By
E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 09:25 am:

I REMEMBER FRANK RALEY FROM EAGLE HARBOR TELLING ME A STORY ABOUT THE CHARCOL PLANT IN MARQUETTE. HE WENT THERE FOR HIS FIRST JOB INTERVEIW OUT OF COLLEGE. THEY USED A CRADLE TO SWING LOGS INTO A SERIES OF CROSSCUT SAW BLADES ON AN 8' ARBOR. THE WOOD WAS DROPPED ONTO A SCREEN CAGE TO BE HEATED TO MAKE CHARCOL.
SOME TIME AFTER THAT, I WAS AT HAROLD MITCHELL'S MACHINE SHOP OUT NEAR THE BARAGA AIRPORT. HE WAS MAKING ME A SPECIAL CYCLINDER FOR A LARGE WOOD SPLITTER. THIS WAS DURING THE LAST BIG ENERGY CRISIS AND I WAS PLANNING TO SELL FIREWOOD AS A SIDELINE BUSINESS. HE TOLD ME TO COME OUT BACK AS HE HAD SOMETHING TO SHOW ME. HE SHOWED ME THE ARBOR WITH THE BLADES FROM THE MARQUETTE CHARCOL PLANT.IT HAD SPACERS BETWEEN THE BLADES SO YOU COULD ADJUST THE SIZE OF WOOD LENGTHS. HE SAID IF I HAD A PLAN HOW TO MAKE IT OPERATE FOR CUTTING FIREWOOD TO LENGTH, HE WOULD GIVE ME A BARGIN ON IT. IT TURNS OUT THAT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN TOO MUCH HORSEPOWER TO TURN ABOUT 6 LARGE SAW BLADES TO MAKE IT FEASABLE OR PROFITABLE. I THINK THAT UNIT STILL IS SITTING IN HIS STORAGE YARD BY HIS SHOP.IT WAS ABOUT 25 YEARS AGO THAT I SAW IT.


By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 10:23 am:

I thought I had seen Bay Furnace on here before, but couldn't remember exactly when. I saw that I made a comment on it when I still lived in Nevada. Thanks Robert for the conformation.

Grilling on the BBQ sounds good about now. Speaking of charcoal, Dr. Nat and I are going to a steakhouse called "The Taste of Texas" for our anniversary next weekend. I have heard that you go in and tell them how big a steak you want, and they cut it for you; I may have to put that to the test ;-)


By Ms. Katie (Mskatie) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 11:13 am:

Top 'o the morning all. Another fasinating place related to pig iron etc. is the Fayette State Park on the peninsula off Hy 2 east of Escanaba. The funny thing I remember about there, was mention of the original hotel's 2-story outhouse!


By JAD, Oscar, MI (Jandalq) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 11:17 am:

Did there used to be kilns near the current Powerhouse west of the bridge? Also, Jack Ruohonen wrote of kilns at Oskar. His writing, which was translated from Finnish by Deric Garnell, was published in the DMG 10/7/75. Quoting from that article, and talking about the logging operation in that area, "In the years 1890-1895 the operation was at its largest volume. Tens of thousands of cordwood were cut for the mines. A sawmill was constructed on...Portage Lake....Three charcoal kilns were also constructed....Into each kiln could be placed 25-30 cords of wood at one time. All kinds of logs could be used, but the process needed an experienced operator who could burn the wood to become charcoal and not ashes. After being filled with wood, the kiln was sealed and fired from 6 to 7 days, opened to release the wood gas fumes, and then allowed to cool for about the same period....The charcoal was shipped to the mills, to be used in the copper refining process. Operators of the kilns were Timoteus Usitalo and Matti Piilikangas.
"In 1885, Nels O. Burkman began to operate 7 large kilns which were always in use providing charcoal for the C & H mining company. The process of logging and charcoal making employed hundreds of men."
I believe that now there are no visible signs of these kilns.


By Fran in GA (Francesinga) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 11:26 am:

Interesting info and picture Bill. I have never seen a charcoal kiln. Thanks to the rest of you who provided more information on the subject.

It is fairly cool today so I am going out back to work in my flower garden.


By Roy Beauchene (Royb) on Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 03:47 pm:

There was a charcoal kiln outside of Calumet. It was just off of the highway on the road to McClain Park. It was about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile past the turn off to Calumet Waterworks. It was quite large and made out of sandstone. I don't know if it is still there but will take look when we are up there this summer.


By Bob Gilreath (Bobg) on Friday, May 5, 2006 - 11:30 am:

There are a few shots of Fayette at the end of my album here:

http://pasty.com/pcam/albuu23


By Don Masnado (Dmasnado) on Friday, May 5, 2006 - 11:33 am:

The comment by Roy Beauchene on a charcoal kiln on the road to McLain struck the memory bell and I remember as a kid good things and bad things about that site. It was a little off the road on the North side of M-203 in the woods about a couple hundred yards up from the old WPA spring water fountain . There were many small old one lane roads in this area that criss crossed the wooded tract possibly from some small logging operation [ for wood to burn in the kiln ???} in the early years. My dad used to take his 1937 Nash Ambasador car there to put on the annual coat of Simonize wax because it was shady. The good part of the memory is that while my dad smeared on the Simonize in the shade of the maple trees, my brother and I would romp through the woods and play to our hearts content . The bad part of the memory is that as soon as the car was completely Simonized, he would put us to work with wads of cheesecloth and rub down the pasted car to a beautiful shine. I grew to hate Simonize for that reason.It was hard to buff out by hand especially if it dried too much, but on a black car, it made the thing look like a sparkling jewel. Maybe this summer, I will look for the remains of the old kiln.

This is a good site .....It always brings back memories of days long gone. Keep it up.


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