Boonton, a town of Morris county, K J., on the Rockaway river, at the terminus of a branch of the Morris and Essex railroad, and on the Morris canal, 40 m. N. W. of New York; pop. in 1870, 8,458. The town is situated in a mountainous region, the canal here overcoming a perpendicular elevation of 80 feet. The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western railroad passes through it. The Boonton iron works, from which the place derives its chief importance, cover about 60 acres of ground, and include 14 large buildings, several offices and stores, and extensive sheds. Every branch of production is carried on, from the smelting of ores to the manufacture of the machinery and tools used in the establishment. There are two blast furnaces, which together produce about 450 tons of pig iron per week, the greater part of which is manufactured in the works. The proprietors own and operate the mines at Dover from which the ores are obtained. These are of the New Jersey magnetic variety, yield from 50 to 75 per cent, of iron, and contain but little sulphur. The product consists largely of gray and mottled iron of fine grain, available for both forge and foundery purposes. Connected with the blast furnace is a chemical laboratory, in which all the materials used are analyzed.
The rolling mills contain 12 double puddling and 11 heating furnaces, and 6 trains of rolls. They produce chiefly the plate iron from which nails are cut, while of bar iron the production is limited to the requirements of the nut and bolt factory which forms a part of the establishment.
The two nail mills are the most important portion of the works, and contain 138 machines", which produce 100 kegs of nails an hour. About 300,000 kegs are used annually for packing the nails, and 20,000 for bolts and nuts, of which about 1,000 tons are produced annually. The keg mill connected with the establishment consumes yearly about 1,000,000 feet of heading stuff and 1,500 cords of stave timber. The only steam engines in the works are those which furnish the blast for the furnaces'. The power that drives the machinery is furnished by the Morris canal, the water of which, after revolving a large overshot wheel in the nail factory, passes to the rolling mills, which have two large iron overshot wheels and four turbines, and thence into the canal again. In the old town of Boonetown, which was swept away early in the present century by the bursting of the dam across Rockaway river, was built in 1770 the first nail mill in the United States, which, notwithstanding opposition from the British authorities, was worked successfully for many years. There are no locks on the canal at this point, but the boats are transferred from one level to the other by means of an inclined plane 500 ft. long, upon which is laid a track of about 9 ft. guage.
The transfer is effected with great rapidity by means of an eight-wheeled cradle, capable of holding a canal boat, which is drawn along this track by a turbine wheel at the top of the incline. Boonton contains several churches and schools, and a weekly newspaper.