The magnetite ore presented smelting problems for the English and Scottish iron workers which they tried to solve through on-the-job experimentation, although some hematite ore was found and easily reduced. The equipment and furnaces were mostly handmade.
Some management personnel had never seen a blast furnace, and some serious judgmental mistakes were made. The available management talent was also dissipated through many contiguous civic, political, and ecclesiastical offices. Top management jobs paid cash and were considerably higher paid than those of labor. Ethnic and cultural differences also created problems, fostering disunity. Personnel changes affected the efficiency of the operations. Church mission calls, defections, and excommunications took their toll of key personnel.
Hostile Indian actions caused constant concern and required individual and militia vigilance, interrupting the Iron Works. The Utah War was the last nail driven into the Deseret Iron Company coffin. Also, the Mountain Meadows Massacre in September 1857 could be considered the first armed skirmish of this affair. Over half of the Deseret Iron Company cadre were involved in it, including the leadership. This shattered the spirit of the enterprise. The strategic value of the iron works to an occupation force also may have been a factor in Brigham Young's decision to close down the works.
Morris A. Shirts