Sloss Furnace Wedding

Making Pig Iron Ingots

One afternoon, Ansel Head found himself with nothing to do in Birmingham. This was not uncommon for him. He had left Birmingham many years earlier because his education there was exhausted either from lack of useful content or from his having grown weary of what was being taught. In any case, there he was back in Birmingham on a late summer afternoon with nothing to do.

He thought to himself, “Maybe my camera could teach me something.”  So off he went with it in search of that something.

He recalled that the city fathers were renovating the old Sloss Furnace just before his migration North. In his youth when the blast furnace was operating and the Magic City seemed magic, the iron workers would pour the rendered molten iron out of a giant caldron into the holes in the sand where the pig iron would cool into ingots; the process would fill the night air with fiery sparks, steam, smoke, and putrid odors. He had remembered riding in the back seat of his father’s car as they traversed the 1st Avenue North viaduct next to Sloss and begging his father to stop the car so that he could watch the vivid show. His father had thought the scene spectacular but didn’t like the smells and dirty air so he never stopped.

 “There might be an education available at Sloss,” thought Head that lazy afternoon.

Sloss Photos

The gussied-up place was a surprise. Where once fearless, sweaty iron workers had trod amidst glowing, liquid metal, there was in progress a gentile wedding featuring high heels, strapless print dresses, and hors d’oeuvres.  His trusty camera was excited and started clicking away recording the lesson found in Ansel Head’s Photo Gallery under Sloss Furnace Wedding.

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