Phoenixville Iron & Steel Company
in 1970, the Phoenix Iron and Steel Company actually began as the Phoenix Nail works. It was the first entity in the United States to produce cut nails. Situated on the banks of the French Creek, near the place where the creek joins the Schuylkill River, it produced rails and other iron parts for the nation’s railroads during the 19th century.
In 1862 the Phoenix Iron Works patented and produced the Phoenix Column, a wrought iron segmented support beam that was used for bridges and viaducts all over the world. It was used to support New York City’s first elevated trains and it also provided interior support for the Washington Monument.
The Phoenix Iron Company was also commissioned by the federal government to produce an improved ordinance gun. The result was the 3″ ordinance rifle, also known as the “Griffen Cannon”. Over 1,600 were produced for the Union Army, and 92 are still on the field at Gettysburg.
The company began producing steel in 1889, and finally closed in 1987. Two of its major projects included the Girard Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia and the Key Bridge connecting Washington, DC with Arlington, Virginia. Its last major commission was the viaduct underpinning the Schuylkill Expressway at Gulf Mills.
The mill once extended over 130 acres and employed 2,000 men. The Phoenix Iron and Steel Company was the major industry in the Borough of the Phoenixvill, and was responsible for its growth and development as a vibrant multi-cultural urban community.