Early in the history of the region deposits of iron ore were discovered near some of the larger rivers around West Virginia. As early as 1742 an iron furnace operated at The Blommery in what would become Jefferson County and soon others followed. Further west Peter Tarr built an iron furnace in Hancock County in 1794. In 1832, the Wheeling Iron works started production and by 1835 had four iron foundries.
Steel is refined iron ore mixed with other minerals. Wheeling became an important city in the production of steel, especially in the manufacturing of nails. The nails made there gave Wheeling the nickname “Nail City.” Once one of our nation’s major steel mills was located in Weirton where some of the finest steel in the world was made.