Bedford County Historical Society Map

Bedford County Historical Society, Inc.

“As we look to the past,
the future looks to us.”

The Furnace

by Judith Redline Coopey

The Furnace by Judith Redline Coopey

The Furnace tells the story of Elinor Bratton`s marriage to Adam MacPhail and is full of anguish, hope, resentment, and dreams. Ellie is young, beautiful, and pregnant, and her father arranges a marriage of convenience to Adam, who is poor, plain, ordinary, and determined to become an iron master. Adam needs money, Ellie needs a father for her child, and so begins the saga of the MacPhail family and Etna Furnace. The Furnace details their efforts to revive a derelict iron furnace in the wilds of what was then Huntingdon County in the first half of the 1800s. Judy researched extensively the Etna Furnace and the Pennsylvania iron industry, and she gained an understanding of the economics of central and western PA in the era of canals and cold blast iron production. She found it to be an exciting and interesting world ... centered on the production of Juniata Iron, then considered the finest in the world.

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