This work is the first and remains the only source of information on all blast furnaces built and operated in Alabama, from the first known charcoal furnace of 1815 (Cedar Creek Furnace in Franklin County) to the coke-fired giants built before the onset of the Great Depression. Woodward surveys the iron industry from the early, small local market furnaces through the rise of the iron industry in support of the Confederate war effort, to the giant internationally important industry that developed in the 1890s. The bulk of the book consists of individual illustrated histories of all blast furnaces ever constructed and operated in the state - 76 furnaces that went into production and four that were built but never went into blast. Written to provide a record of every blast furnace built in Alabama from 1815 to 1940, this book was widely acclaimed and today remains one of the most quoted references on the iron and steel industry.
Joseph H. Woodward was a member of the celebrated Woodward family, the pioneers of Alabama's iron and steel industry, and was an employee of the Woodward Iron Company, which prepared and published this work in Birmingham in 1940. James R. Bennett is Commissioner of the State of Alabama Department of Labor, Chair of the Board or Trustees of Jacksonville State University, and author of Tannehill and the Growth of the Alabama Iron Industry.