Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bethlehem: Steel A Look Back

Anyone ever experience the blast furnace at the Bethlehem Steel?

The tapping of blast furnace 'C' at Bethlehem Steel taken in the 1990s

Notice in the video, what little protection men wore?

While I never worked the blast furnace, my brother used to for a short while. He took part in the tapping of it. He hated it. However during the best month he ever had, he received a $1,000 bonus one month. Even though he wore an asbestos-like suit he still had burn marks from time to time. HOT AS HELL ITSELF!

Later my brother considered it to be both a blessing and relief when he was able to transfer down to the coke fields in Hellertown. It paid less, but the job conditions better suited him.

A PBNE switcher takes slag cars to the slag dump where they are dumped by a crane

Interesting story is if the guys took a cup of water and dumped it into a ingot before steel was pouring into it.. that water would explode! So they had to make sure ingot cars were completely dry after a rain.

Taken in 1992, it shows the filling of hot metal cars with iron at the blast furnace at Bethlehem Steel

As for my days at shop #413 (alloy roller mills & soaking pit) at the steel.. I only lasted 30 days and I quit. I'm such a PUSSY !!

All videos courtesy "Steel Man Jules"

* Bethlehem Steel, with its fleet of 26 ships, was the Panama Canal's second-best customer in 1940, having paid more than $1 million in tolls.

* The company was employing more than 100,000 and earning profits of more than $100 million annually

* The company had a police force larger than the city of Bethlehem's.

* Up until the 1940s wages and working conditions in the plant had been oppressive. When workers walked out, the company would call in billy-club-swinging mounted state police troopers to quash picketers. There were brutal working hours, bribery and favoritism in the 1930s. Work was six days a week, double shifts and they had no vacations

* During WWII as much as 70% of all airplane cylinder forgings, one-quarter of the armor plate for warships, and one-third of the big cannon forgings for the U.S armed forces were turned out by Bethlehem Steel. The company built nearly one-fifth of the U.S. Navy's two-ocean fleet.
Source For The Information Above: Bethlehem Pa Online

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