#63 Jackson Ferry Shot Tower
One of the few surviving shot towers for making spherical lead shot
This facility was typical of others in the country that made small spherical lead shot for the fowling pieces of frontier settlers. Smelted lead from the nearby Austinville mines was melted at the top of the tower and poured through a sizing sieve to produce small droplets. Surface tension caused the molted lead to assume a spherical shape that solidified during its 150-foot fall. The shot was then collected in a water-filled kettle at the bottom of the shaft. The "drop process" was patented in England in 1769 by William Watts, a craftsman of Bristol, England. He profited handsomely from its prevalent use. The tower was built by Thomas Jackson, an English immigrant, in 1807. The tower and grounds were restored through the efforts of local organizations, individuals, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Shot Tower & New River Trail State Park
Route 1, Box 81X
Austinville, VA 24312
Owner, if different than above
Shot Tower Historic State Park