Morgan Iron Works, from the letterhead, 1861. Collection New-York Historical Society.
In the nineteenth century, New York City was a major manufacturing center — the nation's largest by the 1850s. Several iron works were located here, most of them along the banks of one of the rivers. They supplied parts for steamships and railroads, as well as mills and factories. The Morgan Iron Works on the East River was one of the largest, employing hundreds of workers. With the arrival of the Civil War, the innovation and experience of these firms was put to work, supplying parts for navy ships and other uses.