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Carrie Furnaces (Rankin, PA) | portal

Carrie Furnaces (Rankin, PA) | portal - Carrie Furnaces
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This strange looking piece of equipment is called a torpedo car. It was used to transport molten pig iron from the Carrie Furnaces across the river on the Rankin Hot Metal Bridge (which played an integral part in the Homestead Strike of 1892) to the Homestead Works. After that the molten iron was then combined with oxygen to create liquid steel. Torpedo cars are designed to keep metal molten for up to a week and are still used in present-day steel production. The two chassis which the central part rests on are called bogies, and the parts that connect directly with the torpedo shaped vessel are called trunions. Trunions allow the torpedo car to swivel and dump the molten metal into a furnace or crucible.

To me, the hole in the center of the torpedo car looks almost otherworldly, like a portal to another dimension or the iris of some disassembled industrial monster. While the car sits unused and covered in graffiti in the middle of a field, I believe that if it could be moved to another location it could probably be restored for museum display with relatively little expense, thus giving the public a look at a fascinating piece of equipment from a rapidly vanishing era.
Carrie Furnaces, Rankin PA. 2009

If you'd like to learn more about this location, it is a featured chapter in the new Abandoned America book Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences. Signed copies are available through my website, or you can find (unsigned) copies available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online booksellers across the globe.

I also teach photography workshops here periodically; to check availability follow this link.

Photograph and unattributed text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America.

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