An exceptionally fine and rare York County, South Carolina, cast-iron fire-back made by the Aera Furnace, circa 1778-1780
In 1779, William Hill and Isaac Hayne established the Aera Furnance near the Catawba River in South Carolina. It was the first iron factory in South Carolina. As the foundry was established during “The American Revolution”, the factory produced not only household goods, but also “Swivel Guns and Cahorns [cohorns are small mortars for cannons], of any size, 2,3, or 4 Pounders, with Balls to suit”. The infamous phrase on the fireback made by Patrick Henry “LIBERTY OR DEATH” proved ominous for both Hayne and Hill, as British Troops discovered the furnace and destroyed it by fire in June of 1780. Isaac Hayne was captured by the British and taken to Charleston, where he was imprisoned in the “Provost Dungeon” of “The Royal Exchange and Customs House” and then hanged for treason. William Hill was more fortunate and eluded capture by the British. He was able to re-establish the furnace in 1786.
SOLD TO THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF “THE COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION”
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