During the month of January, 1854, No. 1 anthracite iron at Philadelphia was quoted at $37 a gross ton. This was almost the highest price offered for this type of iron since the commencement of its production in 1839. The price was $5.00 more than had been offered in December and was $17 higher than the low which bad been offered in July, 1850. Through that four-year period anthracite pig iron prices had shown a continuous upward movement which gained momentum in 1852 and showed signs of rising even more by January, 1854. 1 This period seemed to offer a golden opportunity for anyone, with an available supply of capital and an enterprising spirit, who was willing to speculate on the growth of the economy of the United States.