In the summer of 2011 I had the good fortune to luck into getting some high quality wrought iron from a sunken ship! A pair of sunken coal barges were being removed from the St. Lawrence River as a hazard to navigation. Local recollection says that the wooden barges were brought there in the late 1940's or early 1950's full of coal. During a storm they sunk and settled into the mud near the shore.
St. Lawrence River Shipping Channel.
After about 60 years in the cold river and under ice over 5 months of the year the barges were breaking up. The International Shipping channel is only a few hundred feet away. In fact this ship went by while we were at the site.
A trucking company was using an excavator to dredge up the remains of the barges from about 12-15 feet of water. Filled with soupy mud, the wood and iron underwater were well preserved. Some of the beams appeared to be long leaf Southern yellow pine. It was still surprisingly sound after decades underwater.
Here is some of the wrought iron reclaimed from the wrecks after they were removed from the river. Iron that was above water level rusted away, but iron that was always below the water line was almost like new.
Now to plan some special projects for this old iron!