The First Iron Pot Cast in Colonial America

I know everyone has been stressing over this question, “Where was the first iron pot cast in the New World”? It turns out that the first pot cast in America was in 1646 in Massachusetts.  The furnace where it was cast was the Saugus Iron Works. This has been verified through records on file with the Massachusetts Historical Society from the official records of John Winthrop, first Governor of MA. It was through his efforts and resources that the first blast furnace was constructed in Saugus, MA in 1646. Records show that the first cast was an open pot. Notice that I did not say Dutch oven as we know them today. The Saugus Iron Works is recognized as the first furnace in the “New World”.

Now the really good news. That pot exists and can be seen at the Lynn, MA Public Library. It was excavated during the archaeological dig in the 1950’s that resulted in the restoration of the Saugus Iron Works. To corroborate the find, scientists performed carbon dating on the pot which confirmed the 1646 records.

And, here it is:

Saugus Pot

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8 Responses to The First Iron Pot Cast in Colonial America

  1. Gregory Newton says:

    I love history, and I really enjoyed learning about this. I shared it with others and began some good conversations about our amazing black pots.

    Thanks!

  2. Outstanding! Glad you enjoyed and shared the post. We have such a rich history here in the Northeast in both the production of cast iron and cooking methods and recipes in the colonial era.

    Stay tuned. I’ll post more as I learn more.

  3. robert perchard says:

    I may be misinformed, but my understanding that the first iron works blast furnace was in Quincy MA., not Saugus, MA.

    • Great observation! I guess this is where we get into the area of historical interpretive accuracy. I suppose I should have used the phrase, “. . .first successful, integrated iron works in the New World”. From what I understand, the Quincy furnace had a problem with the availability of iron ore and it was not economically feasible to support the operation and it was closed down in 1647. So, technically, yes, you are correct but it never became a viable iron works.

      Thanks for keeping me honest and making me do my homework..

      • robert perchard says:

        I never expected a response, never mind as quickly as you responded. Thanks for the explanation. Bob Perchard

  4. Jack says:

    Hi got a three legged cast iron pot from a swap meet, it looks somewhat like the one you have pictured but stamped, “USA1642 Saugus Mass” is this sold from like a gift shop? or another ironworks in Saugus Mass, would love to know… Thanks! Do you know what its worth or if you can buy from gift shop, how much…thanks again, much obliged!

  5. splatterdab says:

    This could have come from any number of furnaces. It’s certainly a reproduction and it is probable that it came from overseas. Kettles like this are available from various sources such as Jas Townsend & Son, Inc – http://jas-townsend.com/quart-cast-iron-p-100.html and sells for $55.00. I wish they produced a representative lid as well but what they offer is not.

    Prior to being sold to the Randall Company of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1953, Wagner duplicated the Saugus piece made by Joseph Jenks in 1642. You would be fortunate indeed if you had one of these reproductions.

  6. Jack says:

    Thanks, looks like that one also, small but very heavy, but this one is engraved with the “USA Saugus Mass 1642” on front would love to know who made this one but seems like needle in a haystack…..Thanks for your time and help!

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