I need help identifying these blocks found on my family's property, which was a 17th century farm house in Virginia. The blocks are 8.75" long, 4.5" wide, and 5" high and weigh 58 lbs.

image of stone block

  • 3
    Those measurements are the dimensions of cobblestone.
    – Gunner
    Mar 23 at 21:45
  • 2
    Why did you choose the tag for "metal?" Mar 23 at 22:46
  • 1
    This may not be appropriate for Home Improvement, but it's certainly not too broad! It asks precisely one question: "What are these stone blocks." How much more focused could it be??
    – FreeMan
    Mar 24 at 14:46
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because it isn't really about home improvement.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 24 at 14:46
  • 1
    When you own a historical property, understanding the materials originally used, re-used, and as they are currently used, including ones found buried around the property, is essential to maintaining and improving the property. IDK how to vote against closing. I'd like to see more questions like this. I don't like recommending people to go to facebook! We can guide such questions to practical use, rather than general nostalgia, and rather than chasing them away.
    – jay613
    Mar 24 at 15:26

They are iron ( unlikely steel at that age ) identified by the density match to iron. The reddish color that looks like granite is rust on a pitted surface. Pig iron ( high carbon and silicon ) or wrought iron ( more or less pure iron ). An unusual shape for either as far as I know. My guess is that they are raw material intended to be made into something. A real historian would be necessary for a comprehensive identification. I have never seen a shape like that except a modern ( after 1975 ) continuous caster could cast 5 X 4.5 inch square strand.

  • See if your town or county has an official or self-appointed historian, who will probably know if there was an iron works on your site, or will know what local resources are available for research. A place to start is your local library, where any books or pamphlets written by said historian would be kept.
    – jay613
    Mar 24 at 16:15
  • Up through the 18th century , iron would have been relatively expensive so any use for ballast would be very unlikely. Maybe raw material for a foundry to make cannons ? Mar 24 at 16:41
  • I get 8.2 g/cm³ which agrees with the published value for iron of 7.9 g/cm³. How many are there? Wonder what the value is? Is it magnetic? Mar 24 at 16:48
  • From a simple engineer basis , I use 500 lb /ft cubed for the big simple picture Mar 25 at 18:40
  • I started looking at the big picture long ago; When selecting 12" diameter. cutouts from a 7" thick pressure vessel; and it was pointed out that I had asked for over 1000 lb of samples to get 5 lb of test coupons. Mar 25 at 19:15

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