EDGAR THOMSON STEEL WORKS
By Hugh P. Meese
In the decade following the Civil War came the greatest period of business development this country has ever had, and a variety of causes combined to focalize this prosperity on Western Pennsylvania, the coal and iron center of the country.
During that disastrous conflict the price of iron had leaped from $18 to $73.60 a ton, and within six years of the surrender at Appomattox, the railroad mileage of the country had doubled in a gigantic business reaction. At the same period came the development of the Connellsville coke region under H. C. Frick, the first stirring of the natural gas industry in this section, and the introduction in America of the cheap and efficient Bessemer process for making steel. Iron rails in this period sold for as high as $100 a ton, and a ton of steel rails brought $175 in gold.
These favoring conditions gave a great impetus to the iron and steel business of the Pittsburgh district, and it is not surprising to find that brilliant and successful Pittsburgh ironmaster, William Coleman greatly interested in the new Bessemer process. As early as 1867, in fact, we find him endeavoring to interest his associates in the manufacture of steel rails.
When Andrew Carnegie himself, in the summer of 1872, saw how easily and cheaply the new Bessemer rails were made in Europe, he rushed back to Pittsburgh filled with enthusiasm for a Bessemer rail plant of his own. An option was immediately secured on 107 acres of land at Braddock along the Monongahela river and late in 1872 work was commenced on a wharf to handle the river freight. On January 1, 1873, the deal was completed when William Coleman purchased, for himself and associates, 61.7 acres of ground from Robert McKinney and 45 acres from John McKinney at a total cost of $219,003.30. On this ground was built the world-famous Edgar Thomson Steel Works.
The firm for the operation of the proposed plant was regularly organized on January 13, 1873, the partners and various stock holdings being as follows: Andrew Carnegie, William Coleman, Andrew Kloman, Henry Phipps, David McCandless, Wm. P. Shinn, John Scott, David A. Stewart, Thomas Carnegie.
Andrew Carnegie $250,000
William Coleman 100,000
Andrew Kloman 50,000
Henry Phipps 50,000
David McCandless 50,000
William P. Shinn 50,000
John Scott 50,000
David A. Stewart 50,000
Thomas Carnegie 50,000
CAPITAL STOCK $700,000
This firm was known as Carnegie, McCandless & Company, and from motives of diplomacy they named the new plant after J. Edgar Thomson, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad at the time. A. L. Holley, one of the most prominent steel mill engineers in the world, was secured to design the new plant. Some of his original prints are still in existence in the Edgar Thomson drawing room. Phineas Barnes, who had just built the Joliet plant, was commissioned to superintend the erection, and accordingly may be called the first General Superintendent of the Edgar Thomson Works.
Early in 1873 the work on the wharf had been completed, under Chief Carpenter Ben Tuttle, and ground for the works proper was broken April 13, 1873, most of the grading and excavating being done under the supervision of Contractor Hughes and Messrs. Collins, Shoemaker, Syd Perry, and Thomas Cosgrove. The brickwork was originally let to a Mr. Miller from Bellevue, but at an early date this contract was cancelled and an employee, Thomas Addenbrook given full supervision.
The business boom of the country, however, suddenly collapsed in 1873 and the new steel mill project seriously threatened to follow suit. In this emergency, however, they succeeded in coating a $200,000 issue of bonds, which tided them over the crisis, and construction operations, which had ceased altogether for about ten days, gradually resumed, although not with much impetus until 1874.
In this same year (1873) Morrell, President of the Cambria Iron Works, promoted Daniel N. Jones over the head of Captain William R. Jones, (who was really next in line for that honor) to the superintendency of that plant. "A prophet is not without honor sate in his own country." Morrell had known Jones for years, and in his eyes he was still an irresponsible youth. Bitterly resenting this slight, Captain Jones resigned, and in August, 1873, came to Edgar Thomson as master mechanic, incidentally breaking up the entire Cambria organization, and bringing with him a nucleus of devoted fellow workers who were experienced steel men, and made the new plant the success that it was.
Two early Braddock firms aided materially in the construction of the early plant: the McVay Walker Foundry (built 1862) made many of the smaller castings, and James McCrady did a great deal of the hauling.
On the completion of the plant, the contract of Phineas Barnes expired, and Captain William R. Jones was appointed General Superintendent.
The first blow was made at the Converting Works August 26, 1875, and the first rail rolled, with impressive ceremonies, September 1, 1875. The plant of which Captain Jones was now to take charge is described by the old Allegheny Chronicle as follows:
"A two-5-ton-converter plant and rail mill with nominal capacity of 225 tons daily. Cupola house 107 x 44 x 46 ft. high. Converter house 129 x 84 x 30 feet high. House for blowing engines 54 x 48 x 36 ft. high. Boiler house 178 x 40 x 18 ft. high. Producer house 90 x 46 x 26 feet high, artificial gas being used to heat the furnaces. The rail mill itself is 380 x 100 x 25 ft. high, with a wing (Blooming Mill) 100 x 35 x 17 ft. high. Office and shop building 200 x 60 x 18 ft. high, with a coal and iron building 40 x 20 x 10 ft. high. The producer house and rail mill have iron side columns with timber side framing, all others being entirely of brick."
For these little 5-ton converters A. L. Holley invented the removable converter bottom, vastly prolonging the converter's usefulness. The Blooming Mill was a 32-inch mill, run by Mackintosh-Hemphill engines. In the boiler house were 20 cylinder boilers with two large flues passing through the center about 25 feet long. The rail mill was a "three high" 23-inch, hook-and-tong mill, operated by a 46 x 48" engine. At the stands were six men, three on each side, who with hooks suspended from above, caught the rail when it passed through and lifted it to the next pass (it was a positive roll train, horizontal construction). There were twelve to fourteen rail passes in all. The hot saws were operated by a 14 X 24" engine. There were four straightening presses, and four drill presses operated by a 12 X 20" engine. Two cold saws were operated by an 11 x 20 engine.
We must pause to note a change in the name of the concern, even before this plant commenced operation. The panic prompted the Pennsylvania legislature to pass an act in 1874 authorizing the formation of limited liability companies. In the failure of Andrew Kloman, a member of the original firm, his partners saw the dangers of the existing contract, and accordingly on October 12, 1874, the firm of Carnegie, McCandless & Company dissolved into the Edgar Thomson Steel Company, Limited, capital $1,000,000, which purchased the new plant for $631,250.43 and assumed a mortgage there on of $201,000. From an old catalogue, whose date I have placed at 1877, we find the organization of this firm to have been as follows:
A. Carnegie, of Carnegie, Bro. & Co., 57 Broadway, New York.
John Scott, President, A. V. R. R. Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.
D. McCandless, Vice Pres., Exchange Nat. Bank, Pittsburgh, Pa.
D. A. Stewart, Pres., Pgh. Loco. & Car Works, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Thos. M. Carnegie, Treas., Keystone Bridge Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.
H. Phipps, Jr., Treas., Lucy Furnace Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.
Wm. P. Shinn, V. P., A. V. P`. R. Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.
D. McCandless, Chairman.John Scott,
Thomas M. Carnegie,
D. A. Stewart,Wm. P. Shinn, Secretary and Treasurer.
Wm. P. Shinn, General Manager,
Capt. Wm. R. Jones, Gen'l Supt.
Capt. Thos. H. Lapsly, Supt. Rail Mill.
ADMINISTRATION OF CAPTAIN WILLIAM R. JONES
Here must have been a remarkable man. After a lapse of almost 30 years his aging employees still glow with pleasure at the mention of his name, and the most calm and philosophic of them flush with resentment at the suggestion that he could have had a fault. The whole world, in fact, seems leagued together to give this man a title of nobility "which it will forever defend."
Frankly admitted on all sides is the fact that Jones had a fiery temper. Beyond that, the most cynical, the most philosophic of his men utterly refuse to say one word that is not complimentary to the dead lion, and the conscientious historian can do nothing but record eulogy on eulogy.
His remarkable hold on the hearts of men originated in his physical and moral courage. Physically he was absolutely fearless, and morally he had the courage to give expression to every good impulse of his soul; to give freely and generously on every impulse undeterred by fear of untoward consequences or accusations of partiality; likewise, he had the courage to confess his error when he was wrong to apologize to the humblest of his men when he thought he had erred, and under any circumstances, to do or say whatever he thought at the moment to be right.
He was a great lover of sports, and in encouraging them established a tradition for his office which has ever since obtained. On the old race track (now the Union R. R. yard) he and C. C. Teeter and others often had horse races, and the Captain was himself a stockholder in the old Pittsburgh Base Ball Club.
One of the greatest mechanical geniuses of his time and a born leader of men, he was a most fortunate head for the young plant to secure.
On the operating staff of Captain Jones were the following men:
Engineers and Chief Draughtsmen: Jno. Stevenson, Jr., Simon C. Collin, Wm. I. Mann, P. T. Berg, and C. M. Schwab, C. E.; Blast Furnaces, Julian Kennedy, J. Cremer, James Gayley; Furnace Master Mechanic, Rich. Stevens; Mill Master Mechanic, Thos. James; Electrician, Wm. R. Pierce; Superintendent Boilers, John Noey; Converting Works, John Rinard and H. W. Benn; Carpenter, Geo. Nimon; Transportation and Labor, F. L. Bridges and Thos. Cosgrove; Chief Clerk, C. C. Teeter; Roll Designer, Robert Morris; Rail Mills, Capt. Thos. H. Lapsly and John Hutzen; Finishing Department, John Frederick; Secretary, W. E. Gettys; Masonry, Thos. Addenbrook; Chief Chemists: A. J. Preusse, S. A. Ford, H. C. Torrance, Albert DeDeken.
During that September the young plant put out 1,119 tons of rails, at a cost of $57 per ton. The very first rails sold for $80 a ton, but the average price for the month netted $66.50 f. o. b. works, making a profit for the firm of $10,630.50 at the very start. By the end of the year the rail profits amounted to $41,970. During 1876 they made $181,000 and in 1877, $190,379.
The profits of the young concern would have been even larger but for the steadily decreasing price brought by steel rails:
1873 $120 per ton
1874 100 per ton
1875 70 per ton
1876 58 per ton
1877 45 per ton
1878 42 per ton
With such a falling market, the ingenuity of Jones was taxed to the utmost, and the economy of Shinn and Phipps exerted to the full. It was at this time, in fact, that Wm. P. Shinn, General Manager, introduced the exact cost keeping system, which, perfected by Phipps, has obtained ever since. Only by constant invention and improvement could Jones keep operating costs below the falling market prices, for you will note that the selling price of rails in 1877 was $12 below the cost of producing those rails in 1875. As early as 1877, therefore, we find Jones making marked improvements at the mill, one of which was an automatic roller table, operated by a single man, to displace the hook and tong men at the stands.
The longest rail rolled in ordinary practice was 40 feet, although at the Centennial of 1876 the young plant had a 90-foot rail on exhibition.
We come now to the next great period of development at the plant. While blooms for the rail mill were secured sometimes from Cambria and occasionally even from England, most of the pig iron came from Lucy Furnaces. All of the Edgar Thomson firm were not interested in Lucy's welfare, and hence discussions arose as to the proper price Edgar Thomson should pay for pig iron. Furthermore, under the direction of Captain Jones, the plant was rapidly proving itself a most profitable venture, and the success of the Lucy project was very enticing. From these considerations it was therefore decided to erect a blast furnace plant at Edgar Thomson, and the campaign started in 1879 under the supervision of Mr. Julian Kennedy. Andrew Kloman, one of the original partners, had failed, and a small charcoal furnace which he had built at Escanaba was purchased for $16,000 or so and transported to Braddock, where it became the old 65 x 15 ft. Furnace "A." This furnace was blown in January 4, 1880 and on her first lining produced an average of 56 tons daily, with about 2,650 pounds coke to the ton of iron. Mr. Richard Stevens, who had come to the plant in March, 1875, was given the position of Master Mechanic at the new Furnace Department, and ably assisted in making it.
A second furnace "B", was blown on April 2, 1880, and the third furnace of the group, the "C", November 6, 1880. Furnace "B" in her first year produced and average of 5,500 tons per month on 2,570 pounds coke to the ton of iron, and the "C" Furnace produced similar results. Labor was cheap, and improvements came rapidly, and by 1881 the new plant had cleared $2,690,157.57 and its prosperity remained unchecked. During that year the rapid growth of the steel industry justified further expansion, and on April 1st, Carnegie Bros. & Co., as the firm was now called purchased 26 acres from Wm. Martin and wife, covering part of the present Open Hearth site and the Union Railroad yard tracks. In that year a Blooming Mill was erected, being enlarged to 36" size, followed in 1882 by a new converting works. Plans were also drawn for a new General Office building, and in the spring of 1882 the Captain at last took a well earned vacation and went to Europe, an experience which we may imagine he enjoyed to the full.
The corner stone of the present general office building was laid May 27, 1882, and from the papers found therein we learn that even at that early date the Amalgamated Association, a labor union, was having trouble with the manufacturers, although it did not develop into anything serious for years later.
In England, Captain Jones, who was such a common, every-day, figure on Braddock streets, where he would stroll along eating peanuts (which often cost him 25 or 50c a package "no change, thank you,") in England, this man was greeted as a marvel and a genius. What he had accomplished in production had astonished the British manufacturers and revolutionized the steel industry. The profits of the Braddock plant had rolled up enormously, and already repaid in full the original investment:
5 1/3 Years -- $2,690,156
Meanwhile the blast furnace development continued, Furnace "D" being blown in April l9, 1882, "E" June 27, 1882, "F" October 7, 1886, and "G", June 20, 1887. On April 1, 1887, an addition to the plant was purchased from John McKinney, 21 acres in all, covering the site of the present No. 3 Mill and Splice Bar department.
Just as the early steel makers gave their lives to the development of the young plant, so did their families abandon their very homes to its encroaching progress. About where the electric shop now stands, two rows of ten houses each had been built in 1876 and across the old road was another row of houses where No. 3 Mill now is. Four fine brick houses were built in 1882 on the site of the present "J" and "K" furnaces, and at different times were occupied by Julian Kennedy, Richard Stevens, Thomas Cosgrove, C. M. Schwab, C. C. Teeter, Morgan Harris, Michael Killeen, and Thos. James. These houses now began to be too close to the smoke and dirt of the works for the comfort of the occupants, and row by row they went down, the last ones, at the Furnace Department, being destroyed in 1890. (Capt. Jones himself lived in the house now occupied by Mr. A. E. Maccoun).
In September, 1888, Jones' greatest invention the "Jones Mixer," 125 tons capacity, was placed in operation.
The iron from all the furnaces is poured into this mixer, and thus uniform iron is supplied to the converters. The patent on this mixer was successfully defended by the Steel Corporation in 1905, and the idea has been used in all the steel plants of the world.
The plant up to this time had been under the control of labor organizations. The Amalgamated Association broke up in 1884, only to be succeeded by the Knights of Labor. The plant had been run on an eight hour basis, and when the company attempted to inaugurate a twelve-hour basis in 1887, trouble ensued. The men refused to sign the annual agreement, and a strike followed December 31, 1887, which continued until May 12, 1888, the plant being entirely shut down except for the mechanical department. When the men finally surrendered and signed the sliding scale inaugurated at that time (by which their pay, in many cases, varies with the selling price of the product) also accepting the 12-hour day, the backbone of Union labor was broken in the Edgar Thomson mills. To C. C. Teeter much of the credit for this first sliding scale must be given.
Captain Jones had often told the officials of his company that if they would only give him the chance he would build them a rail mill that was worthy of the name and would far surpass the old one that they had, and in 1887 he got his chance. In that year the new mill, now known as No. 1, was constructed, with every late improvement of the day installed, and the old mill was slated for the scrap heap.
In the new mill the ordinary three high, positive roll train, run by a single engine, was divided into three trains, the first five passes being made in one three-high 24" train, the second five in a second three-high 24" train, to which the first delivers directly, and the last finishing pass in a two-high train of 24" rolls. Each train is run by its own independent engine, the first and second being 46 x 60", and the third 30 x 48". This mill was nearly automatic, one man handling the levers which lift the tables, move the tumblers, etc. Each roll train had a hydraulic crane for changing rolls. From the bloom furnaces to the hot beds, the roll trains, tables, etc., were in one long, straight building 520 x 60 ft. the hot beds being in a wing at right angles to this. The straightening department was another long building 625 x 47 ft., parallel to the mill. The roll shop was in a wing 60 x 60 ft. on the north side of the roll trains. The steel department got its steam from 70 boilers of various makes. The converters were also changed at this time to 10-ton capacity, to supply the increased demand for steel.
Needless to say, the new mill was fully up to expectations, and in 1889 the annual output of the plant in rails leaped to 277,401 tons.
In that year, the last one of his life, the Captain placed a capstone on a life of charity and benevolence by his humane and vigorous efforts on the occasion of the Johnstown flood. As soon as word was received of this terrible disaster (May 30,1889) he dispatched a trusted messenger to investigate, and immediately upon receipt of reliable information he systematized the collection of supplies which formed the first relief to come to the stricken people. He shortly assumed command of the Pennsylvania Railroad workmen sent to Johnstown, and did heroic work in alleviation of the suffering of that devastated district.
We come now to the close of this remarkable administration. Jones had taken a new and untried plant, built up an efficient organization, and made a name for the firm all over the commercial world. Just as he had erected the old G. A. R. monument on the hill above Braddock, so did he put Braddock itself on the world's map.
On the night of September '6, 1889, Furnace "C" had been "hanging" for 36 hours, and Captain Jones, Schwab, Gayley, Addenbrook, and others were working around it. A workman was engaged in striking a bar inserted in the tapping hole, to open the furnace up, when Jones, dissatisfied with his efforts, said, "Let me do it," as vitas his habitual expression. Seizing the sledge he struck the bar, and at the same moment the furnace burst, its contents splashing over his head and shoulders. Springing quickly backward, the Captain struck his head, in falling, upon a modock cinder car. He never regained consciousness, and died in the Pittsburgh Homeopathic Hospital September 28, 1889.
The whole community was appalled and the country shocked by the death of this famous character, and according to one historian a throng larger than the population of the town itself followed the casket to the grave. In this catastrophe more than one man saw the loss of his best friend and counselor, and, filing past his departed leader cold in death, felt with Marc Antony, "My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar."
ADMINISTRATION OF CHARLES M. SCHWAB
OCTOBER 1, 1889 - SEPTEMBER 30, 1892
Under an able master had been trained and developed one of the greatest brains in the American steel industry. Starting in 1880 as stake driver on the engineer corps (where he worked with a son of Captain Jones) C. M. Schwab's engineering ability and knowledge of men early gained attention, and by the time of Jones' death he had become Chief Engineer of the plant, and assistant to the Captain, having supervision of the Homestead plant under that official. (The Homestead plant was under the direction of the Edgar Thomson General Superintendent up to October 1, 1892). He was, therefore, an experienced executive when he took charge of the Edgar Thomson establishment on the death of Jones.
The historian is not a little puzzled by the conflicting descriptions that he receives of this man: some say he was a superlatively great engineer, others that he was not; some say he was a great inventor, others that he was not; some say he achieved a high technical development, others that he did not. But a man does not rise from stake driver to General Superintendent in nine years without some very good reason.
The best analysis of his genius is, perhaps, as Mr. Wm. P. Brennan expresses it: He was a great general. He had a true sense of proportion, an appreciation of the relative value of conflicting factors, a mind that could grasp the most complex situation, and last, but not least, he inspired his men with confidence in him and his ability, had perfect knowledge of human nature, and absolute mastery over men. I believe that unskilled in military tactics as he was, Chas. M. Schwab could have assumed command of the Union armies during the Civil War and achieved as great success as Ulysses S. Grant, and incidentally I doubt if he would have wasted 1,000 men in 20 minutes at Cold Harbor. An intuitive grasp of essentials and consummate tact made him great.
Schwab was (and is) a thorough going democrat to the very core. To William Powell (clerk to Thomas Addenbrook) he confides: "Do you know, I can hardly realize that here I am General Superintendent of this plant. Why should I be General Superintendent? What do I know so much more than you fellows about this business?"
Of course, to his superior officers he turned quite a different side, and would blandly take credit for anything and everything that came along, but this democracy was real, and not an assumed trait of the man. Gold or titles have never confused or blurred his vision. To him, regardless of wealth or title, every man is still just a human being whom he judges on his own intrinsic value as a man. He has the sensitive, visionary soul of a great artist, and his consummate tact has arisen from his innate desire to see things "go smoothly."
He always hated "scenes," arguments, or disturbances of any kind. Only a few years ago I heard this lord of millions, -- yes hundreds of millions, -- explain and apologize and explain again when he had unwittingly, by the good-natured use of a pet nickname, affronted a choleric old employee of former days. Although, in the eyes of those present, Schwab had not been guilty of the slightest faux pas, he seemed exasperated to his very soul by an apparent blunder. For the man has perfect tact; he is an artist, and the instrument on which he plays is men.
The band which he organized at the steel works is giving a concert, and standing in the crowd Schwab discovers a lady of mature years. He is distinctly annoyed by the discomfort so elderly a person must be in, and finally going out he invites her in, and gives her a chair.
He is good-natured and big hearted: He and Cosgrove are passing through the mill, when a laboratory employee throws a snowball at one or the other which hits Schwab. Schwab's temper flames up, and the man immediately seeks employment elsewhere. However, the laboratory needs the man, and Cosgrove has the temerity to take the question up with Schwab. "Oh well, take him back, I don't care. But explain to the darn fool that I can't have every Tom, Dick and Harry on the plant firing snowballs at me. Look how many thousand men there are here!" a true and just plea.
The labor world is violently disturbed, and every now and then a committee of men comes up from the mill to demand higher wages. Schwab's first and only thought is to avoid a scene, or any rupture of harmony. He welcomes the men cordially, naturally, gracefully; he gives everyone a chair and passes around a box of fine cigars. There is in his manner no trace of superiority, hostility, or suspicion. He talks with the men about their work, their families, their hobbies, and relates jokes that occur to him. The men are pleased and rather surprised at the pleasantness of their visit. Time passes. The men mention their complaint in a casual way. Schwab listens to them courteously, sympathetically, and frankly explains the situation as man to man, not as employer to inferior. If he can do anything for them he promises to do it; if he can't, he explains just why he can't. He inspires the confidence of the men, and they believe what he tells them. Shortly, taking another cigar, they file out to the accompaniment of cordial "good-byes." Frequently there has been no wage increase, but likewise -- and what is more important to Schwab -- no unpleasantness.
C. M. Schwab's operating staff consisted of the following men: - James Gayley, Superintendent Blast Furnaces; M. Killeen, Asst. Supt. Furnaces; Thos. Cosgrove, Supt. Transportation; H. W. Benn, Supt. Converting Works; S. A. Ford, Chief Chemist; H. B. A. Keiser, Chief Engineer; Rich. Stevens, Master Mechanic Blast Furnaces; Thos. James, Master Mechanic, Steel Department; Geo. Nimon and A. McWilliams, Foremen Carpenters; Conser McClure, Roll Designer; John Noey, Superintendent Boilers; John Hutzen, T. H. Lapsly and D. L. Miller, Supt. Blooming and Rail Mills; C. C. Teeter, Chief Clerk; Thomas Addenbrook, Foreman Masonry; Roger Bowman, Supt. Finishing Department; Electrician, Wm. Pierce and C. M. Tolman; Secretary, Otto Rhinehart.
In 1890 the old Blooming Mill, with 36" three-high train (operated by 36 x 72" engine) was changed to a three-high 40" mill, C. Mercader being the supervising engineer for that work. The plant at that time consumed about 25,000,000 gallons of water daily, and there were five main pumping stations. The Electric Light Plant contained three Brush 65-light dynamos, running about 175 arc lamps. Power was provided by three 11 x 22" Buckeye engines. There was a locomotive repair house measuring 54 x 124 feet, and whereas the original plant had had but one broad gauge and one narrow gauge locomotive for yard service, the plant now boasted 12 broad gauge and 14 narrow gauge locomotives.
Meanwhile the development of the Blast Furnaces continued, two more blast furnaces being blown in:
Furnace "H" February 27, 1890
Furnace "I" August 14, 1890
The whole battery of blast furnaces produced. during Schwab's administration, an average of 54,782 tons of iron monthly.
Only one rail mill was operated during his term of office, the new mill having entirely superseded the old one, which now became known as "No. 2 Mill." The new mill produced an average of 26,051 tons monthly, as compared with less than 15,000 tons produced by the old mill in its best days.
The plant now employed about 3,500 men, and produced on an average of 1,550 tons of furnace iron per day. The record for a single blast furnace was 457 tons for 24 hours, and the best daily rail record 1,417 tons.
Like his predecessor, Schwab was very generous, and gave churches in his town of every denomination many a helping hand. More than one church building, in fact, stands today as a memorial of his generosity and breadth of religious viewpoint.
To the traditions of the office that he held, Schwab added the encouragement of the arts, and at his own expense equipped and organized a fine brass band. Floyd St. Clair, one of his employees, became the leader of this band, and later made a name for himself in the world of music.
After the fatal riots at the Homestead plant in 1892, Schwab, who was well known and liked by the Homestead men from his former work there, was asked to take sole charge of the wrecked organization of that concern. This work he undertook (with the greatest success) October 1, 1892, and James Gayley, Superintendent of the Blast Furnaces, became General Superintendent.
ADMINISTRATION OF JAMES GAYLEY
OCTOBER 1, 1892-FEBRUARY 28, 1895
James Gayley was probably the greatest technician who ever filled the superintendency. His record at the Crane Iron Works (Catasauqua, Pa.) Missouri Furnace Co., (St. Louis) and E. & G. Brooke Iron Co., (Birdsboro, Pa.) had attracted the notice of Captain Jones, and in 1885 he came to Edgar Thomson as Superintendent of the Blast Furnaces.
In this capacity he made a record as an economist, and reduced the coke consumption to a point that has been little if any excelled since that time. He invented the bronze cooling plate for blast furnace walls, the auxiliary casting stand for Bessemer steel plants, and was the first to use the compound condensing blowing engine with the Blast Furnace. He also invented the dry-air blast, for which the Franklin Institute awarded him the Elliott Cresson medal.
Under his superintendency the Blast Furnace Department had commanded the notice of the whole metallurgical world, and by his wise selection of stock, and general management, with certain other favoring conditions his furnaces made record productions. Gayley, in fact, was to the blast furnace what Jones had been to the rail mill.
Brilliant and intellectual as he was, the spirit of education and enlightenment found in him a willing disciple. Not only was he a keenly commercial and technical steel-master, but he was also imbued with the inspiring, uplifting, educational fire that in other days animated such men as Sturmius, Rabelais, Montaigne, Ascham, Mulcaster, Pestalozzi, and Rousseau. Far in advance of his time, he was interested heart and soul in the instruction and education of his men, and under his auspices the finest lectures were delivered, gratis, for them in Braddock Carnegie Free Library. Some of the printed reports of these lectures are still extant, and are the finest brochures obtainable on their respective subjects. Mrs. Gayley, on her part, gave frequent talks on household economy and domestic science.
Never was there a more sincere, earnest, or conscientious man in the superintendent's chair.
The use of molten iron, together with Ferro Manganese, had originated at Edgar Thomson, but under this administration the process was abandoned. (In this connection it should also be noted, in the metallurgical line, that the direct process, i.e., using molten iron direct from the blast furnaces, was first used in America at this plant according to Mr. H. W. Benn, who believes it began in 1881 or '82. He also states that Edgar Thomson was the first plant to cast on cars successfully.)
Mr. Gayley's operating staff consisted of D. G. Kerr, Supt. Furnaces; Rich. Stevens, M. M. Furnaces; Thos. James, M. M. Steel Department; C. M. Tolman, Supt. Electrical Department; John Noey, Supt. Boilers; H. W. Penn, Supt. Converting Works; Geo. Nimon and A. McWilliams, Foremen Carpenters; Thos. Cosgrove, Supt. Labor and Transportation; Conser McClure, Roll Designer; C. C. Teeter, Chief Clerk; Thos. Addenbrook, Supt. Masonry; D. L. Miller, Supt. Rail Mill; Wm. Connor, Superintendent Foundry; G. E. Harris, Supt. Finishing Department; Chief Draughtsmen and Engineers: H. B. A. Keiser, E. E. Slick, F. DuPeyster Thompson, and Jno. F. Lewis; Secretary, James E. Mitchell.
Gayley had charge of the plant during the panic years that followed Grover Cleveland's election in 1892. Times were very bad, labor was restless, and the Carnegie officials exacting in their demands, and his position was extremely difficult.
Not content with obliterating groves of trees, township roads, and whole rows of dwelling houses, the expanding plant now turned back the very streams from their courses, and in 1893 Turtle Creek's course was moved 1,125 feet east from the old bed back of the Converting Mill to its present location. On May 12, 1891, Carnegie Bros. & Co. had purchased about 7 1/2 acres of land from John Dalzell, chiefly in what is now the Union Railroad Valley yard, and on December 28, 1891, 12 additional acres from Wm. J. McKinney (on the site of the present O. H. plant) and again on July 13, 1892, the Carnegie Steel Company (note the change in name) Limited secured about 11 acres from Wm. F. Knox in the Union Railroad main track yard and Turtle Creek district.
With this expansion in territory the way was clear for an extension that the plant badly needed, viz: a Foundry Department, and under Mr. Gayley the entire Foundry Department was constructed.
No. 1 Foundry commenced operation July 11, 1893, producing during the remainder of that year 1893 tons. This was probably the first foundry of the kind to make ingot moulds successfully with direct molten metal from the furnaces.
No. 2 Foundry commenced operations January 11, 1894, and is used for making general iron castings, and the third and last foundry commenced foundry work March 19, 1894, producing brass and bronze castings. The original Brass Foundry of Mr. Gayley's time was very small, and has since been torn down.
Of this new department, Mr. William Connor, formerly of the Mackintosh & Hemphill Co., became Superintendent.
During Mr. Gayley's administration the abandoned old mill was again brought into use, producing some 32,000 tons of rails, and entering upon a second lease of life.
Mr. Gayley's exhaustive technical knowledge was desired by the officials in the City Office, and he was accordingly given the post of Ore Agent March 1, 1895, being succeeded at Edgar Thomson by Mr. Thomas Morrison, General Superintendent of the Duquesne Works.
ADMINISTRATION OF THOMAS MORRISON
FEBRUARY 28, 1895-MAY 31, 1903
Thomas Morrison was first of all a great mechanician and rail mill man, next a great financier, but withal a hard, practical, common sense man of business, blunt, direct, and outspoken, four square with the world. He had the usual distaste of the man with a mechanical turn of mind for the vagaries of words and phrases and the confusion of official papers. As a rule, he did not dictate his correspondence, being impatient with such affairs, and turning with more cheerfulness to problems of a mechanical or operative nature. He was a strict, fair, and just disciplinarian, and when he left we find his men presenting him with a fine watch and heartily expressing their conviction that he had given everyone a fair deal.
With Mr. Morrison from Duquesne came Mr. G. E. F. Grayish as Chief Clerk, who had served in that capacity at Duquesne and Homestead, and was eminently fitted for that position by integrity of character and broad, conservative judgment. This position Mr. Gray has held ever since.
Mr. Morrison's operating staff was as follows: Assistant Gen'l Sup't, Chas. E. Dinkey; Supt. Blast Furnaces, D. G. Kerr, Geo. Crawford, and H. A. Brassert; Master Mechanic Furnaces, Rich. Stevens, Jno. F. Lewis, A. E. Maccoun; M. M. Steel Department, Thos. James; Chief Electrician, A. E. Maccoun, following C. M. Tolman; Supt. Boilers, John Noey; Supt. Converting Mill, H. W. Benn; Supt. Carpenters, etc., A. McWilliams and Reuben Abbiss; Supt. Foundry, Chas. E. Dinkey and Geo. England; Chief Inspector, E. B. White; Chief Engineers, E. E. Slick and Sydney Dillon; Chief Chemists, F. L. Grammar and C. B. Murray; Supt. Blooming and Rail Mills, D. L. Miller; Chief Clerk, G. E. F. Gray; Superintendent Finishing Department, Geo. E. Harris; Superintendent Masonrn, Thos. Addenbrook; Roll Designer, Conser McClure, L. W. Nageley, F. H. Christ; Secretary, James E. Mitchell; Supt. Transportation and Labor, Thos. Cosgrove.
No. 1 Foundry was enlarged early in Morrison's administration (1899) and in 1898, No. 2 Foundry first began the manufacture of iron rolls. The Brass Foundry was torn down in 1902, and the old Power House was converted into the present Brass Foundry, employing about 65 men, and practically bringing the foundry to its present status.
On August 20, 1895, only a few months after Morrison had assumed charge, occurred the distressing explosion at "H" Furnace, wherein six were killed and eight badly burned. If it had been possible, this furnace would have retrieved itself during his term, however, for it completed a nine-years' run on a single lining for over 1,000,000 tons, being the first blast furnace in the world to accomplish such a feat.
During the early part of 1897, the mills' electrical demands had increased to such an extent that a new power house was built on the site of the present plant, the Foundry power house and Mill lighting plant being dismantled. The equipment of the new power house consisted of one 800 K. W. generator, a 400 K. W. generator moved from the Foundry, two 75 K. W. lighting machines and one 150 K. W. lighting machine. The old 250 H. P. generators of the Foundry power house were moved to No. 1 Rail Mill finishing yard, and subsequently scrapped.
A vital improvement effected by Morrison was the double furnace bell, forestalling the escape of gas in charging, which, together with the first automatic skip hoist in America, was put on Furnace "F" in August, 1897. This innovation did away with the necessity of men going on top of the furnace during regular operations.
A great number of electrical installations were put in during this period, perhaps the most noteworthy being the installation on the "B" Furnace, March 9, 1898, of the first electrically driven skip hoist in the world. This proved such a success that Morrison subsequently changed the following furnace skips to electric drive:
Furnace "I", December 4, 1898
Furnace "A", March 28, 1899
Furnace "G", September 26, 1899
Furnace "E", December 5, 1900
Furnace "D", December 4, 1901
Furnace "K", December 5, 1902
Furnace "J", February 16, 1903
A revolutionary installation was the pig machine, installed at the furnaces 1898. Previous to this the furnace iron had been cooled in chill moulds. The pig machine is an endless moving chain of pig moulds into which the iron is poured from the ladle, passed under water, and cooled.
Again, the blowing engines at the Furnace Department, which formerly had had single cylinders, and were run high pressure, with air tubs equipped with leather valves, were changed at the "A, B and C" in 1896 to independent compound condensing engines, and at the "D and E" to compound condensing steeple engines in 1897. The old type of engine has since been displaced throughout the plant as a result of this campaign.
The greatest plant development in steam economy, however, of this or any other administration was the replacement in 1895 of the old style tubular boilers by the Cahall water tube type. The "A, B and C" boiler house was rebuilt in 1896 and 1897, the "D and E" in 1897 and 1898, the "H and I" in 1902, and the "J and K" in 1902 and 1903. A second great economy effected was the connection of the Mill and Furnace Departments June, 1899, with a 24-inch steam line, thus allowing the removal of most of the coal fired boilers at the mill, and the use of gas fired boilers at the furnaces.
The Union Railroad interlocking plant was thrown into service in Bessemer yard October 26, 1897, and the first train brought in from North Bessemer on that date, which marks an epoch in the transportation system of the plant.
Under Mr. Morrison the first Weiss central condensing plant in this country was established at the Power House 1897. Since that time this type of central counter-current condenser has been installed at all the Blast Furnace steam blowing engine rooms and at all the departments of the mill where steam is used.
In this period of centralization, the Furnace Laboratory and Steel Works Laboratory were combined (1897) and the present laboratory erected, C. B. Murray being appointed chief chemist.
In 1899 the present Converting Mill building, housing four 15-ton converters, was erected for the plant by the Keystone Bridge Company, the building being 165 x 78 1/2 x 31 ft. high, fully equipped with the latest electric and automatic devices throughout. The previous year (1898) the Blooming Mill had been again rebuilt, although still remaining a 40-inch mill. Furnace "K" was completed and blown in December 5, 1902, and the "J" on February 16, 1903, each being 90' 10" high, the "J" having a 15' hearth while the "K" hearth is 15' 6".
The cry, which had been all for "tonnage" for years past, now began to turn toward "quality." With this in mind, Morrison installed what was known as the "Kennedy-Morrison process" in the rail mill December 5, 1900, which consisted of a cooling bed between the leader pass and the finishing pass, the idea being to put a harder surface upon the rail.
January 8, 1902, an addition was built to the power house, and the second 800 K. W. compound wound D. C. generator, driven by a vertical cross-compound Allis engine was installed. At this time we note that the second lighting line was run to Braddock, (the first line having been run 894 or thereabouts).
The terrible Furnace "I" accident occurred March 31, 1903, the furnace "slipping" and dust collector blowing out. Nine men were killed in this disaster, and five badly burned.
Late in this administration Mr. W. J. Vance, Chief Shipper, resigned, and Mr. W. L. Miller assumed the duties of that office, which he is still creditably performing.
One of the most important and far reaching innovations of this progressive executive was the weekly meeting of department superintendents for the noon hour meal (generally held on Wednesdays) whereat the difficulties and troubles that beset each department are fully thrashed out for the instruction of all, and thorough harmony and understanding secured throughout the organization. This weekly dinner Mr. Morrison inaugurated October 18, 1899, and it has been most profitably continued ever since. The minutes of these meetings form a most valuable and accurate record for the plant, and it is greatly to be regretted that such a record was not to be obtained for the whole life of the organization.
I regret that lack of space forbids more detail of this vigorous man's term of office. Suffice it to say that under Morrison the plant smashed every record it had ever made, and on reviewing the administration no point appears wherein he did not surpass his predecessors in production. Roughly speaking, the amazing truth is that the plant was speeded up 70 or 80 per cent. While the mills had previously been producing around a quarter of a million tons of rails per annum, under Morrison they put out half a million or so.
Plain spoken and matter of fact as he was, it is the achievements of the man that strike our attention far more forcibly than the reserved and unassuming personality which he presented to the world. I have tried to portray, roughly, in a non-technical manner, the results of his regime, and have been most fortunate if I have succeeded in conveying any idea of the cold brilliance of his administration.
ADMINISTRATION OF CHAS. E. DINKEY
June 1, 1903
Big executives have a weakness for the man who can get things done, and in June, 1901, Thomas Morrison had brought up the young man who had charge of the Foundry Department and placed him in his own office as Assistant General Superintendent. Two years later, after the formation of the United States Steel Corporation, when Mr. Morrison's extensive personal business demanded all of his time, he recommended his assistant, Chas. E. Dinkey, as his successor.
In the American Manufacturer years before, on October 4, 1889, Jos. D. Weeks had declared that the superintendency of the Edgar Thomson plant demanded greater executive capacity than the presidency of the United States. There now entered that superintendency a man trained under four executives of such caliber, and who, naturally of a reflective turn of mind and keenly observant brought to that office the noblest qualities of those that had gone before: The force and driving power of Jones, the shrewd tact and generalship of Schwab, the chemistry and detail of Gayley, and the sound common sense and business acumen of Morrison. In him each of these qualities of his predecessors still lived on in one master executive.
For his assistant, Chas. E. Dinkey chose John F. Lewis who was eminently fitted for such promotion by a rigorous course from early boy hood in shops and drawing room, and who at the time was Master Mechanic at the Blast Furnace Department. Mr. Lewis is naturally of an inventive turn of mind, and during past years has given to the mill many inventions and improvements, among which may be mentioned the vertical hydraulic ingot stripper (1891) (which alone reduced the force 56 men), steel tie fastening, stock distributing device for blast furnaces, etc., etc. The man lives in a mechanic's world, and thinks machinery as other men think words. His desk is constantly covered with a profusion of the most complicated and unintelligible sketches of gears, drives, trains, etc. of every description. A thorough sportsman, genial, considerate, and wholly democratic, he carries with him an intangible atmosphere of Southern chivalry.
With this period, the historian reaches the most difficult part of his task, for in the administration of Chas.E. Dinkey, up to the present time, not ten, twenty or fifty projects have been undertaken, but 265 seperate and distinct improvements ejected of the average caliber of $90,000 or $100,000 each. It is immediately apparent that in so brief a survey as this history, only the most prominent and interesting features can be touched upon.
His operating staff to date has consisted of the following men: Assistant General Superintendent, Jno. F. Lewis; Chief Clerk, G. E. F. Gray; Superintendent Blast Furnaces, H. A. Brassert, A. E. Maccoun; Chief Electrician, A. E. Maccoun, E. Friedlaender; Steel Works Master Mechanic, Thos. James, John Richardson; Chief Engineer, Sydney Dillon, L. C. Edgar; Supt. Converting Works, H. W. Benn, L. T. Upton, C. F. McDonald; Supt. Finishing Department, Geo. E. Harris, Jas. V. Stewart; Supt. Blooming and Rail Mills, D. L. Miller; Supt. Masonry, Thos. Addenbrook, P. G. D. Strang; Chief Chemist, C. B. Murray, G. D. Chamberlain, C. E. Nesbit; Superintendent Labor and Transportation, Thos. Cosgrove, Wm. J. Dixon; Chief Roll Designer, F. H. Christ, F. F. Slick, I. W. Keener; Asst. Supt. Furnaces, M. Killeen, F. H. N. Gerwig: Foreman Carpenters, Reuben Abbiss; Superintendent Open Hearth, J. W. Kagarise; Special Engineer, Richard Stevens, A. F. T. Wolff; Supt. Foundry, Geo. England, S. B. Cuthbert; Supt. Boilers, John Noey, Geo. S. Kramer; Chief Inspector, E. E. White, J. K. Boyd; Master Mechanic Furnaces, Geo. W. Campbell; Supt. Splice Bar Shop, Edgar S. Wright, Superintendent No. 3 Mill, Frank F. Slick; Secretary, P. A. K. Black.
1903-1904. One of the first acts of Mr. Dinkey's term was the changing of the township road from the old location through the mill to the present site, thus giving more yard room and greater area for expansion. The first street car ran over the new tracks July 4, 1903. The foundry was also extended 66 feet during this first year, and at the furnaces a great economy was effected by the installation April 28, 1904, of ten 110,000 gallon settling tanks for treating the acid Monongahela river water with lime and soda ash for boiler feed purposes.
1904-05. The question of roll storage had now become a serious problem, for over 100 different rail sections were rolled at the plant. Accordingly in this year the 24 2-flue boilers at No. 1 Rail Mill were torn out and the Boiler House converted into roll storage by installing a crane runway and using the old roll shop crane. A new 500-foot wharf and wharf boat were also constructed (besides various other improvements in this year) to take care of the river traffic, at a cost of $97,000.''
1905-06. The first gas engine installed at Edgar Thomson was a 21 3/4" x 30" horizontal tandem Westinghouse of the four cycle constant mixture type. It was started November 13, 1905, and ran until August 7, 1906, when it was returned to the builders for some necessary improvements. It was direct connected to a 250-K.W. generator, and furnished current for operating the Foundry. It was operated on blast furnace gas, and was the first engine of this type to be installed in this country.
The demand for light rails had been exceeding the supply for some years, and accordingly a special light section rail mill, the first electrical mill in this country, was constructed and placed in operation in July, 1905.
For the operation of this mill, Mr. Dinkey had long decided upon Mr. Frank F. Slick, chief roll designer, whose technical education, energy, and versatility appealed to him. The actual appointment of Mr. Slick to this position, however, off-hand and nonchalant as it appeared, and the history of the infancy of that now famous mill, are highly illustrative of both characters:
The mill being practically completed, Mr. Dinkey exclaimed one day to a group of superintendents: "Well, here's the mill all right, but who the devil will we get to run this condemned sausage factory?" "Me," said Slick. "I'll run it." "Take it," said the Boss. Scarcely, however, had the earnest young superintendent assumed his first charge than the wretched mill groaned feebly and stopped altogether. Down came Mr. Dinkey. "Well, what's the matter here?" "We have to make some repairs and get things straightened up, Mr. Dinkey. This mill is in frightful shape," said Slick. Another day passed, and still no tonnage from No. 3.
Mr. Dinkey then invited Mr. Slick to call. Upon that unhappy man's appearance, he engaged him in some desultory conversation, in the course of which he confided to him that personally he greatly admired the picture of still life presented by the brand new mill, with the golden sunlight falling on polished brass and bronze, the silent roll stands fading away in murky perspective, and the stalwart workmen standing about obscured by the shadows of gigantic machines, and that, anyhow, he was the last man to discourage the aesthetic aspirations of his subordinates. He added, however, that in the capacity of superior officer he felt at liberty to make some suggestions in an artistic vein, and took this opportunity to remind Mr. Slick that Corot and many other great painters were wont to introduce a splash of red into the foreground of their masterpieces, which feature in No. 3, could be best secured by introducing a red hot billet in the first roughing rolls.
The exasperated Mr. Slick heard him through in silence. Then, "Mr. Dinkey, if you'll just give me a chance to get that mill cleaned up right I'll give you the best mill going. I can run it right now if you want a second grade mill, but this isn't going to be that kind of an affair " And he made good his boast, for today No. 3 Mill stands first in the Steel Corporation, and probably ranks first for its kind in the entire United States.
1906-07. On Nov. 16, 1906, upon the resignation of Mr. David F. Melville as Assistant Chief Clerk, Mr. F. A. Power of the Foundry Department was appointed to succeed him, and took office at that time. This lively gentleman has long since justified his appointment by his earnest loyalty and the deeply conscientious discharge of his duty, while his Gargantuan laughter helps remove the dust that is only too prone to settle on the office windows.
Mr. Dinkey's European trip, it should be noted, took place in the summer of 1906.
Two more gas engines were installed in December, 1906, and March, 1907.
Five new ore bridges were installed at the Furnaces in this year of the administration, the bridges in the new yard going into operation Dec. 1, 1906, and in the old yard January 5, 1907. The car dumper was installed in 1907, a giant machine which picks the car up bodily and dumps it, thus saving a vast amount of time and labor. No. 1 Rail Mill was also thoroughly over-hauled and rebuilt for diversified product in 1907.
On March 14, 1907, occurred one of the worst floods of the Monongahela of recent years, the river gauge at the works recording 34 ft. 6 inches. The records show twelve other floods of varying degree in the last ten years.
1907-08. One of the most prominent features of this administration has been the attention given to the safety of the men. An account of the work along this line, alone, would fill a volume, for it is one of Mr. Dinkey's hobbies to make the mill safe. In line with this idea, the Washington Street tunnel was constructed during this year of the administration, affording a safe and convenient passage for the workmen of the Blast Furnace Department.
On January l, 1908, as though in irony of the attempts to curb him, the Steel demon bloke loose in the Converting Department, and an explosion occurred in which three men were killed and eight seriously injured.
1908-09. As a step toward improved quality, the five pass roughing rolls in No. 1 Mill were changed to seven pass, Sept. 5, 1908, with excellent results.
In this year the Cahall boilers at the Mill were moved to the Furnace Department and the extension to the present general office built, ground being broken March 4, 1909, and the office occupied May 8th.
1909-10. Notwithstanding the depression of the panic, improvements at the works kept right on. The 15-ton iron ladles at the Furnaces had been replaced in 1908 with 3,5-ton ladles (10 in all) and in this year, 1909, seven electrically operated ladle dumpers were started at the Pig Machine, materially reducing transportation costs and amount of scrap metal produced in handling the furnace iron. The Kennedy-Morrison cooling table, which had been in service for almost a decade, was removed July 24, 1909, and the new direct run operation commenced July 25, 1909.
We are now (1909) entering the period of diversified product from the rail mills, and the Basic Open Hearth plans are approaching completion. For a full understanding of the causes back, of these new developments, it is necessary to make a slight discursion at this point:
From the annual report of the American Iron & Steel Institute for 1915, we learn that the domestic consumption of steel rails in the United States, in tons per annum, for the years 1903-1914, was as follows inclusive:
It will at once be seen that the rail purchases of the country fell off heavily from 1907 on, and as a matter of self preservation the rail mills at Edgar Thomson were compelled to branch off into various products, ordinary billets being rolled in 1907 and '08, tie plates commenced Dec. 31, 1909, and sheet bar Feb. 21, 1910.
When the New York Central sections were introduced, about 1890, owing to the stiffness of those rails they had reduced the Phosphorous to 0.06 and 1aised the Carbon to an average of 0.55 and even 0.60 in the heavier sections. Other roads followed suit, and claiming that 0.10 Phosphorous rails broke under the severity of northern winters, kept increasing the demand for rails low in Phosphorus content. The Lackawanna Steel Company made a very great amount of these low Phosphorous rails within the next seven or eight years and the Edgar Thomson Works occasionally rolled some from special ores, but those low Phosphorous ores that were readily available were well nigh exhausted in a short time, and accordingly we find the Lackawanna plant dismantling in 1898 to rebuild at Buffalo, and practically six years elapsed before they were again in full operation. Their former output of rails was distributed among other mills: Carnegie, Cambria, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Illinois Steel Companies.
The manufacturers declared that the breakages of Bessemer rails were due to the constantly increasing loads and higher speeds imposed upon the rails by the roads, (and incidentally it may be stated that the railroad companies have since virtually admitted this fact). We are not here, however, concerned in the basic metallurgical truths of the matter, but only in the ruling sentiments of the period, and the prevailing fashion in the railroad world. The railroads continued to insist on low Phosphorous rails, and in the year 1907 the situation between manufacturers and roads became so tense that there were many meetings and consultations to determine what could be done to make better rails. The manufacturers said that it was impossible to roll the A. S. C. E. sections with their extreme width and thin bases and put sufficient work upon the head to make them wear well and at the same time have the metal throughout the entire section sufficiently tough.
The Bethlehem Open Hearth plant was in operation in 1907, and the Gary plant for Basic Open Hearth rails was designed. For the 1908 rails many roads specified that the metal in the Bessemer converters should be held 2 1/2 minutes after recarburizing, and also that the number of rails per ingot should not exceed three. The mills could not handle a three-rail ingot at that time, and therefore they rolled the lower two-thirds, only, into rails for such specifications.
The consumers were demanding Basic Open Hearth rails, and for some the Open Hearth steel was made at the Homestead plant and shipped to E. T. Works. This was, of course, an expensive affair for Edgar Thomson, and the Basic Open Hearth plant was shortly designed. The marked reduction in rail orders for 1908 is also accounted for by the panic of 1907-08, and the fact that the western corn crop had been soft, and only suited for feeding purposes, instead of for shipping.
1909-10. Air dump cinder ladles that could be operated from the engine cab replaced the hand dump ladles at the Blast Furnace Department March 10, 1910. The car repair shop was built, and some sixteen other improvements of minor interest effected.
1910-11. The year 1910, among other things, saw the completion of the Flue Dust Briquetting Plant and the removal of the Splice Bar shops from Duquesne to Edgar Thomson. To the Edgar Thomson management must be given full credit for the development of the Flue Dust Briquetting process, and the perfection of the high Carbon splice bar, both of which processes have advanced very far beyond what they were on inception at this plant. The Briquette Plant is expected very shortly to have a monthly capacity of 30,000 tons of fine briquettes which will take the place of the best grades of ore used in the Open Hearth or Blast Furnaces.
1911-12. A new Emergency Hospital, for the proper care of the injured employee, was erected during this year, ground being broken Dec. 26, 1911, and the hospital occupied Sept. 16, 1912. The new works club house at Thirteenth Street was commenced in June, 1912, and occupied in November of that year.
On May 28, 1912, came the good new that an appropriation had been granted Edgar Thomson that day for a new Open Hearth Department, an improvement long desired and planned for by Mr. Dinkey, and which had been more of less in contemplation since 1895. Work commenced immediately, ground being broken May 31, 1912. In this year the employment office began operations in the basement of the General Office, June 27, 1912, the present employment officer not being occupied until October, 1913. On June 20, 1912 the old McKinney Club House, that had long served as restaurant and meeting place for the superintendents, was torn down to make room for the new O. H. plant.
1912-13. On Nov. 10, 1912, the present works telephone system and telephone central were installed in the present location in the Club House. In this year of the administration the stocking and shipping yards for Nos. 1 and 2 Mills were constructed, and work commenced on the relocation and improvement of the Blooming Mill while the old No. 2 Rail Mill was also remodeled. During this contraction work, Mr. F.F. Slick was given supervision of the rail mill operations. A fire occurred in this year at the Flue Dust Briquette Plant. In 1913 the Electric Repair Shop, which had been located in the present Power House, was moved to the present location to make room for the installation of additional electrical equipment in the Power House. Electrical ingot strippers were put in operation June 18, 1913.
1913-14. This year saw the completion of the Blooming and old mill improvements, and the completion of the 14-Furnace Basic Open Hearth plant, which is the best Open Hearth plant in the country using coal for fuel, and is conceded by electrical experts to be the best equipped plant, electrically, in the United States. The furnaces are of the stationary type, and the plant includes gas producers, stockyard, calcining plant, and Spiegel cupola. Furnaces are rated for 90 to 100 tons per heat. The main building is 150 ft. wide x 1230 ft. long, and is thoroughly guarded with safety appliances throughout. A complete description is given in my article of January 1, 1914, issue of the "Iron Age." Gas was put on the first furnace August 4, 1913, and they started making bottom August 6, 1913. First heat was charged August 15, 1913, and tapped August 16, 1913. The first rail from the new plant, an 85 lb. one for the Norfolk & Western, was rolled August 21, 1913. Owing to the depression in trade, it was not until July 12, 1915, that gas was put on the last furnace.
1914-15. In 1914 the gas cleaning plants at Blast Furnaces were remodeled and their capacities increased to clean the gas for hot blast stoves. (The first plant was installed in November, 1906, and a duplicate plant Octobe1, 1907, for gas engine service). A third plant was started Sept. 17, 1914, which gave gas cleaning capacity for all the gas required for hot blast stoves and gas engines. The plants permit the use of much more economical hot blast stoves.
The first part of the mill improvement program was completed this year, and incidentally one of the most revolutionary changes in the rolling department of the works effected with the abandonment of the old Blooming Mill October 10, 1914. The former ingot had been 17 3/4 x 19 1/2", being broken down to a 9 1/2" bloom in seven passes, while the new 48" bloomer breaks a 23 5-8" square ingot down to about 17" in the first four monkey passes, running at a speed of 4.5 R. P. M. Four ingots were first put through the new monkey rolls August 12, 1914. The 40" bloomer commenced operations August 30, 1914, everything being finally put into operation at this mill October 8th, 1914.
1915-16. The new No. 2 Mill, built for the production of diversified product, was completed this year, starting on regular product January 1, 1916. The new mill is a 32 inch four-stand mill with a motor load of 79 motors driving bloom pushers, charging and drawing machines, bloom cars, table rollers, lifting and tilting tables, hot saw machines, curver, 800-ton billet shear, billet conveyor, delivery tables, etc., and is probably the most modern and thoroughly equipped rail mill in the world.
1916-17. We come now to the close of our review of this able administration of progress and achievement. Among other things, there was started in the summer of 1916, a mammoth 200,000,000-gallon (daily) pumping station near the foot of Thirteenth Street to take care of the work now being done by five smaller pumping stations scattered throughout the plant. This will give the plant a much more economical and efficient water supply system.
1916 marks two improvements that the management had long tried to get: a new general office building and the Pennsylvania subway at Bessemer station. The new office was commenced July 31, 1916, and the Pennsylvania subway thrown open to the public June 12, 1916.
In 1916 the "I" Furnace was rebuilt, with its electric skip hoist and automatic electrically operated bells, and is now the most modern blast furnace in the country. Three more of the same type are under construction. Again, the foundry department has been developed in late years to a point where it has become the best foundry for moulds and stools in the country. Brass and general castings are also a product.
I believe that the achievements of this administration cannot be more strikingly portrayed (aside from the cursory review I have already given) than by the citation of figures on progress in the electrical department, for as every man knows electricity is the embodiment of speed, economy, and efficiency. These figures from one department alone, speak for themselves, and are a silent and absolute epitome of the progress of the plant under Chas. E. Dinkey.
Needless to say, every record of production that the plant has ever made has been smashed time and again under the Dinkey administration. Sufficient steel rails have been produced to twice encircle the globe and run a half dozen lines from San Francisco to New York, in standard railway sections, or in light weight sections such as produced in No. 3 Mill, to lay a track clear to the moon, if that were possible, while the Blast Furnaces have cast enough iron to reproduce in solid blocks of iron every skyscraper and railroad depot in the city of Pittsburgh, or pave with two-inch iron plates, the Lincoln highway from coast to coast.
Submit info or inquiry - share some facts or ask a question.
Source document: The unwritten history of Braddock's Field (Pennsylvania) prepared by the History committee under the editorship of Geo. H. Lamb, A. M., for the celebration of the golden jubilee of Braddock, the silver jubilee of Rankin and the one-hundred-seventy-fifth anniversary of the first white settlement west of the Alleghanies. p. 49-57. Pittsburgh : Nicholson printing co., 1917.