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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

U.S. STEEL CORP. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The U.S. STEEL CORP., a large producer of steel and a major manufacturer of wire and wire products, had 9 divisions of its American Steel & Wire subsidiary in Cleveland at one time. The Cleveland-based firms that eventually became part of U.S. Steel dated back to 1857 when founded the Jones & Co. in NEWBURGH, where they erected one of the first rolling mills in the area. When HENRY CHISHOLM† and Andros B. Stone bought into the firm in 1858, it became the Stone, Chisholm & Jones Co. and produced iron rails. The first blast furnace in Cleveland was built by the firm in 1861. In Nov. 1863 the company was reorganized as the Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. and 5 years later steel was produced at the Newburgh mill using the new Bessemer process. Various types of wire products were made in the 1870s, and in 1881 the company expanded its facilities with the erection of the Central Furnace near the CUYAHOGA RIVER. In the 1880s some violent strikes also occurred (see CLEVELAND ROLLING MILL STRIKES).

In 1899 H.P. Nail Co., founded in 1877 by Henry Chisholm, the American Wire Co., incorporated by CHAS. A. OTIS† in 1882, and the Baackes Wire Nail Co., started by Michael Baackes in 1889 all became part of American Steel & Wire Co. of New Jersey. When U.S. Steel was organized in 1901, American Steel & Wire became its subsidiary. The subsidiary's main Cleveland facilities were the American Works, Central Furnaces & Docks, and the Newburgh Works. These plants were joined by the Cuyahoga Works in CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS in 1907 and the Cleveland Coal & Chemical Works in 1916. Under U.S. Steel, the Cleveland plants of American Steel & Wire continued to expand, producing a variety of wire and steel products for numerous customers. In 1924 the division's national headquarters were consolidated in the ROCKEFELLER BUILDING in Cleveland. The Depression highlighted the antiquated state of U.S. Steel's Cleveland plants, and much of the historic Newburgh plant, dating back to Jones & Co., was closed. Although the remaining plants were expanded and modernized in the 1940s and 1950s, U.S. Steel began to withdraw from Cleveland in the 1960s, closing the American Works and the rest of the Newburgh Works. In a reorganization move, the American Steel & Wire Division was dissolved in 1964 and the Cleveland offices were moved to Pittsburgh. When the parent company experienced financial problems, its closed the Central Furnace Docks & Cleveland Coke Works in 1978. Crippled by the 1980s recession, U.S. Steel closed the Cuyahoga Works in May 1984, its last major operation in Cleveland. In July 1986 the company sold the Cuyahoga Works to the American Steel & Wire Corp., and it reopened 2 months later, producing wire and rods from steel billets.

Holloway, J. F. Henry Bessemer and His Inventions ., . . (1884).

Pendry, William R. A History of the Cleveland District . . . (1936).

U.S. Steel Corp. American Steel and Wire Div., People, Progress, and Products . . . (1956).

Last Modified: 23 Jul 1997 09:26:37 AM

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