Braintree Iron Works

During the 17th century, iron was used to manufacture a number of indispensable goods, including nails, horseshoes, cookware, tools, and weapons. The production of iron required a complex manufacturing process, which was not available during the early years of the North American colonization. Thus, all of the colonists iron goods had to be imported. As it took at least two months to sail to the nearest foundry, iron goods were very expensive.

John Winthrop the Younger wanted to establish an iron works in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He believed that because the colonies had a cheap and abundant supply of raw materials, an iron works in Massachusetts could produce goods that could be sold profitably in the New England and Chesapeake Colonies as well as in England. In 1639, Winthrop sailed to England to get the capital he needed to fund the project. The Company of Undertakers for the Iron Workes [sic] in New England was founded with £1,000 sterling from his London investors to finance the venture.

Winthrop selected Braintree as the location of the first iron blast furnace. 

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David Crispin,
Nov 21, 2015, 4:40 AM