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Burden Iron Works Museum, Troy

#12 of 12 in Things to do in Troy
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Specialty Museum
The Burden Iron Works was an iron works and industrial complex on the Hudson River and Wynantskill Creek in Troy, New York. It once housed the Burden Water Wheel, the most powerful vertical water wheel in history. It is widely believed that George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., inventor of the Ferris wheel, had occasion to observe the wheel while a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The iron works site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an archaeological site in 1977. The Burden Ironworks Office Building was previously listed in 1972.
Henry Burden was born in Dunblane, Perthshire, Scotland, April 22, 1791, the son of a farmer. He studied engineering at the University of Edinburgh, and emigrated to America in 1819.
Burden started at the Townsend & Corning Foundry, manufacturers of cast iron plows and other agricultural implements, located in Albany. The next year, he invented an improved plow, and a cultivator, which was said to have been the first to be put into practical operation in this country. He also made mechanical improvements on threshing machines and grist mills.
He moved to Troy in 1822, and worked as superintendent of the Troy Iron and Nail Factory. The factory was located on north side of the Wynantskill Creek in South Troy, about a half-mile northeast of today’s Troy–Menands Bridge. Burden's inventions, which automated work that was previously done by hand, made the factory extremely profitable. Burden soon became the sole owner of the factory and renamed it H. Burden and Sons. The Burden Iron Works, as it came to be known, produced a variety of iron-based products.
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Burden Iron Works Museum reviews

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  • Extremely interesting. Call ahead for hours and directions. We live on the kill that supplied the water power for the Works, Wynantskill, so I found this tremendously interesting.  more »
  • The Burden Iron Works Museum was one of two major objectives I had for my visit to Troy. The curator, who showed me around, was very knowledgeable about the history of Troy and its place in the...  more »
  • Went here for a quick visit after Google recommended it as something to do in Troy. And... It was awesome! The curator was extremely knowledgeable and even entertaining. There are lots of cool, old machines, bells, and other historical items, and even more to be learned of what defines Troy's significance in history.
  • I showed up one day with my parents for what we though was going to be a quick mosey tour. 3 hours later, we had experienced the single most in depth history lesson any if us had ever had, focusing on the center of the industrial revolution, Troy, New York. This is absolutely wonderful experience, and I am planning on returning soon.
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