Its imports during the same year amounted to 899,201 tons, including 172,319 tons of grain and other agricultural produce, 156,620 tons of firewood, 145,255 tons of pig-iron and manufactured iron and steel, 47,201 tons of iron ore, 121,168 tons of copper, -silver, lead, tin and nickel with their ores and alloys, 63,009 tons of zinc, its ores and alloys, 41,029 tons of sulphur ore, phosphates and other raw material for the chemical trade.
In 1895 it was demonstrated that Alabama pig-iron could be sent to Liverpool and sold cheaper than the English product, and Birmingham (Alabama) came consequently to rank next to Middlesborough and Glasgow among the world centres of the pig-iron trade.
In 1901 the number of persons engaged in working of the raw material was 23,263, of whom 8258 were employed in steel smelting and founding, 7781 at blast furnaces in the manufacture of pig-iron, and 7224 at puddling furnaces and rolling mills.
The value of the output of iron and steel increased from $264,571,624 in 1890 to $471,228,844 in 1905, and the state furnished 46.5% of the pig-iron and 54% of the steel and malleable iron produced in the entire country.
In the coasting trade the exports are mostly pig-iron, codfish and some products of local industries and agriculture.
The Barrakur ironworks produce pig-iron, which is reported to be as good as that of Middlesbrough.
But the state's iron foundries moved rapidly westward after the first successful experiments in making pig-iron with bituminous coal, in 1845, and the discovery, a few years later, that rich ore could be obtained there at less cost from the Lake Superior region resulted in a decline of iron-mining within the state until, in 1902, the product amounted to only 822,932 long tons, 72.2% of which was magnetite ore from the Cornwall mines in Lebanon county which have been among the largest producers of this kind of ore since the erection of the Cornwall furnace in 1742.
At Rio Tinto the ore is divided into three classes: (I) The poorest, containing an average of about I i% of copper, which is treated locally by leaching with water and liquor containing ferric sulphate, whereby the copper is dissolved out and afterwards precipitated by pig-iron, whilst the residue is exported as ordinary iron-pyrites.
The rise of the iron industry dates from the establishment of the Carron ironworks near Falkirk in 1760, but it was the introduction of railways that gave the production of pig-iron its greatest impetus.
Production of Material and Pig-Iron and Steel.