From the Baltimore (Md.) Gazette and Daily Advertiser, 8/23/1837, p. 2, c. 3
The Richmond Courier publishes information respecting the manufacturing resources and establishments of that city by Messrs. Deane & Cunningham, the Editor states that it is situated a short distance above the Armory, in rear of the large flour mill, not now in operation, known as Cunningham’s. The building is a large one, constructed in a manner at once neat, convenient, and well adapted to its purposes. Its walls are arched all around, which makes it as open for the ingress and regress of the operatives, and the free passage of air, as may be necessary or perhaps consistent with its strength. Its size is 140 by 75 feet.
The machinery is all moved by a massive overshot water-wheel, 22 feet in diameter, 12 wide, supplied by water from the canal, conveyed thro’ two cylindrical trunks. The fly-wheel is cast iron, solid; is 15 feet 8 inches in diameter, weighs 6 tons, and revolves 87 times per minute. There is a complete set of merchant rolls, shares and squeezer, worked by the same connection. There are six puddling furnaces and two refining furnaces; they have no blast save the draft of the flue. The number of hands employed is 52, men and boys.
The establishment when in full operation, can turn out 60 tons of bar iron per week, consisting of all sizes of round and square iron, from five-eighths to four inches, and flat iron from one to five inches. It now consumes about three thousands tons of pig iron per annum. The quantity of coal consumed per week is from 12 to 1500 bushels – the whole of which is placed in furnace by the labour of two men, who bring it from the bank of the canal, where it is deposited by the boats – so great is the convenience of location.
One of the three thousand tons of pigs used in the mill, is supplied from the blast furnace in Buckingham, owned by a company, which Mr. Deane was instrumental in getting up. At this furnace there are from eighty to ninety hands employed in making charcoal and smelting iron. The remainder of the iron is supplied from blast furnaces in Rockbridge, Botetourt, &c.
There is an ingeniously constructed fan, worked by bands and pulleys, attached to the wheel which moves all the machinery, for the purpose of cooling the place and promoting the comfort of the operatives in the mill.
The whole goes on with great system. The hands are paid by the ton for their work, and once weighing answers for settling the accounts of all. There are two sets of hands, one for the day and the other for the night. Each has his prescribed duty, and is at his place precisely then he is wanted.
All the casting for this mill, were made in Richmond at the Foundry of the Shockoe Manufacturing Company, superintended by Mr. Samuel P. Parsons. And they are highly creditable, particularly the large Fly Wheel, which is an admirable specimen, cast solid as it is, with such perfect accuracy. In fact, the whole building, fixtures, machinery, and all, is constructed from Virginia materials, made up in the city. The building is covered in with Buckingham slate. In this Mr. Deane carried out his design at commencement, to complete his establishment from Virginia resources; and, except the workmen, who are Welsh, there is nothing about the concern not grown and produced in that State.
After looking into the interesting processes of this mill throughout, we visited the establishment of the Virginia Foundry Company, the propriety of the construction of which, was suggested by the great consumption of casting by the rolling mill but which has been built upon an expansive scale. We regard it as an important acquisition to our manufactories. It is located a few paces in rear of the rolling mill. They have a foundry 90 by 50 feet, with their two air furnaces and cupola, and cast any piece not exceeding 10 tons. – They are now engaged in casting the massive machinery for the Belle Isle Manufactory.
There is attached, some 200 feet from The Foundry, a large two story building, 100 by 40 feet, which is a machine shop for making models; and, also, a locomotive engine factory, &c. It has a large overshot wheel, 20 feet in diameter, which puts into operation a boring mill, lathes, blacksmith furnaces, &c. This wheel also moves a piston, which works a sort of air pump, to supply the blast for the foundry. The air is conveyed by wooden conductors a distance of 220 feet to the foundry.
There has been a wonderful economy in water power in the design. The water once used for the Cotton Factory of Messrs. Cunningham & Anderson, now supplies the three establishments, first passing through the Rolling Mill, then the Cotton Factory, and lastly supplying the Virginia Company’s establishment. This Cotton Factory runs 4,000 spindles