The Iron Furnaces was the first of Scranton
's industries. Built in 1840-1841, by Scranton
s, Grant and Company, it took until 1842 before they kept the fires burning using a hard coal called anthracite, for which the region is famous. Originally, the Scranton's made nails, but they were inferior due to the area's low quality of iron ore. In 1845, the local ore was combined with Columbia County
ore, which led to a better quality nail. However, the market for nails declined in the U.S. in the late 1840's. To pay off debts, the company began to make T-rails for railroads. Rails at this time were imported from England, but the supply was never reliable. The Erie
Railroad was saved because the Scrantons delivered rails in time for them to complete their laying of track before a deadline that would have seen them lose their right-of-way.