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A Blast in Alabama

By Linda Tancs

A testament to America’s coming of industrial age, Alabama’s Sloss Furnaces is the only 20th century blast furnace in America being preserved and interpreted as a historic industrial site. Located in Birmingham, the facility contains two 400-ton blast furnaces and 40 other buildings although nothing remains of the original furnace complex. Nevertheless, the oldest building on the site dates from 1902 and houses the eight steam-driven “blowing-engines” used to provide air for combustion in the furnaces, vintage engines that drove (no pun intended) the Industrial Revolution. Sloss produced iron for nearly 90 years, rendering Birmingham a great industrial hub of the South that earned it the nickname The Magic City.

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