A small test furnace was erected during the summer of 1852 and some poor quality iron produced 29 September of that year. A small sample was rushed by special express to Salt Lake City where it served as proof that iron manufacturing in the Great Basin was an accomplished fact.
During the next six years many furnace test runs were made, with varying degrees of success. Many unforeseen problems developed, and the pig iron produced was mainly the product of experimentation in trying to solve them. The iron works were never fully operational in any commercial sense; although, on occasion, especially in 1853 and 1855, the blast furnace was operated on a short, sustained basis. On 8 October 1858 Brigham Young advised Isaac C. Haight, the director of the Deseret Iron Company, to shut the operation down. The assets of the company were gradually liquidated, culminating in a public auction of the remaining company equipment on 20 December 1861. Although all the elements for the successful establishment of an iron-making industry were present, the project failed in its basic objective: the making of pig iron and then making useful objects from it. The need and the desire were there. The basic ingredients for the blast furnace were present--abundant iron ore, fuel, water, limestone, and sand. A cadre of frontiersmen along with skillful and experienced iron workers from Europe and the United States were involved. However, there were also a number of major reasons that probably contributed strongly to the project's failure.