Martha Capwell Fox
A presentation of the Pennsylvania Canal Society
Tuesday June 15, 2021
7:00 – 8:00 PM
(30 minutes of presentation
followed by 30 minutes of Q & A)
The Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company was the first to move anthracite coal efficiently and profitably from mine to market. This was accomplished first by making the Lehigh River navigable by a series of “bear trap” dams, and then constructing the two-way Lehigh Navigation between Mauch Chunk and Easton.
With highly profitable anthracite delivery established, the company searched for an effective process of smelting iron ore with their anthracite coal. In late 1838, the Welsh ironmaster David Thomas was hired to build the first commercially and technologically successful anthracite iron furnace along Lock 36 in Catasauqua. For the first time, large quantities of high-quality iron could be made quickly in the US–thus triggering the American Industrial Revolution.
About the Presenter: Martha Capwell Fox has been the historian and archives coordinator for the National Canal Museum and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor since 2012. She is the author of three papers that were presented at Canal History and Technology symposia, on the silk industry in the D&L Corridor (2002), 19th century entrepreneur Jose de Navarro (2010), and the industrial history of Catasauqua (2011), and the book covering the history of the D&L Corridor, Geography, Geology, and Genius: how coal and canals ignited the American Industrial Revolution (2019).
A fifth generation Catasauquan, she has been fascinated by the histories of the canal and borough since childhood. After graduating from American University, Martha worked for National Geographic and Rodale Press prior to the Canal Museum.
Zoom meeting link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81503237801?pwd=NnRValJXNktUS1ZWMWJlSWNpVkFNdz09
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Zoom Meeting ID: 815 0323 7801
Zoom Passcode: 009912