Mary Pratt Furnace

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Mary Pratt Furnace

The Mary Pratt Furnace was an iron furnace constructed in Birmingham by Henry DeBardeleben and W. T. Underwood on a 30-acre site on 1st Avenue between Sloss Furnaces and Avondale Mills in 1882-83. Like the earlier Alice Furnace, DeBardeleben named it after one of his daughters, Mary Pratt DeBardeleben.

The Mary Pratt Furnace Company was incorporated on March 29, 1883 with $300,000 in capital stock. The 55-foot tall stack with 11-foot wide bosh was blown in during April. The furnace was designed to be flexible to meet the demands of the market, but mostly produced foundry iron, with a capacity of 15,000 tons per year. Inputs included furnace coke from the Pratt Coal and Coke Company and red or brown ores from a variety of mines. With the development of the Birmingham Mineral Railroad, the use of Red Mountain ores was preferred.

In early 1889 the furnace was rebuilt with a 65-foot tall stack and 14-foot bosh and its capacity was increased to 20,000 tons. It remained in continuous blast until the Panic of 1893 forced the operation to be idled.

The property was sold at public auction in 1898 and bought for $35,000 by the Alabama Consolidated Coal and Iron Company. The new owners began a refit intended to increase capacity to 30,000 gross tons, but the rebuilt furnace was never blown in. The property was sold to the Alabama Great Southern Railroad in 1903 and dismantled to make room for a railroad storage yard.


  • Woodward, Joseph II (1940) Alabama Blast Furnaces. Birmingham: Woodward Iron Company. reprinted 2007 by University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0817354328