The Lehigh Crane Iron Company was organized in 1839 shortly after the arrival of David Thomas (1794-1882) from Wales. To encourage the production of anthracite iron, the Lehigh Canal and Navigation Company had invited David Thomas to take over the management of the new company. The company was named after Mr. George Crane, owner of the Yniscedwyn Works in Wales. The first of six furnaces was blown on July 4, 1840 (11 foot bosh; 47 foot stack), and others in 1842, 1846, 1849, and 1868. Though others were experimenting with the use of anthracite coal, Thomas was the first to make use of the hot blast essential to anthracite iron production. In 1899, the plant passed into possession of the Empire Steel and Iron Company organized that year for the purpose of acquiring a number of idle blast furnaces.