The Union Iron Works began operation in 1742. Its property extended over a seventeen-square-mile area in Hunterdon County, which included iron mines and the buildings and equipment needed to produce iron goods. The Union Iron Works operated two iron furnaces in what are now Clinton and High Bridge.

The owners of Union Iron Works were William Allen and Joseph Turner. This house was owned by Joseph Turner.

When the Revolutionary War began, Turner and Allen had to flee their property because they were Loyalists. (Loyalists were Americans who remained loyal to the British in the Revolutionary War.) Robert Taylor, who had been their bookkeeper, then became the superintendent of Union Iron Works.

In the decades before the war, Union Iron Works had produced such items as horseshoes, farm tools, and fireplace backs. With the coming of the war, the iron works became important to the military effort because of the production of such items as cannon balls and rifle barrels.

It required an enormous amount of heat energy to run the furnace to work with iron. Melting iron to a workable state requires maintaining temperatures over 2000 degrees. To keep the furnaces burning here, an acre of trees was cut down every day to be burned. By 1781, the trees in the forest surrounding the Clinton furnace had been used up and that furnace ceased production. Union Iron Works then focused its work on the furnace in High Bridge.

The house is now a museum run by the Union Forge Heritage Association. It contains numerous items related to the iron works and the Revolutionary War era, including cannonballs, iron ingots and molds, tools and financial documents.


117 Van Syckles Rd, Hampton, NJ 08827  


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