#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.

Jackson Ferry Shot Tower. Image source: Waymarking.com

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Landmark Location

Shot Tower & New River Trail State Park
Route 1, Box 81X
Austinville, VA 24312

Owner, if different than above

Shot Tower Historic State Park

Visiting Info

By appointment

Ceremony Notes

May 1981


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