17 February 2008

Making Shaping and Treating of Steel

To RETURN TO ==> the Making, Shaping, Treating Steel pages on Dave's Den CLICK HERE

This is the place to enter any comments remarks, questions, etc. you may have about anything you saw on the Making, Shaping, Treating Steel pages of Dave's Den.

I welcome your input, and do thank you for sharing your views!

Dave Yaros --

This section is for a discussion of the steel making process, and the steel industry in general. Dave's Den, provides a primer on how steel is made and takes you on a tour of the steel mills.

My interest in this area arises from having been a steelworker at U.S. Steel - Gary Works; as was my father and his father.


Dave Yaros said...

The mills are now up and running at "full blast!

Dave Yaros said...

I have added a photo exhibition, entitled "Steel Making Men & Machines" to the Making, Shaping, Treating Steel area on Dave's Den.

It consists of 65 photographs depicting many aspects of the steel making process, along with a few other interesting items. Among those are the $100,000 corporate bond issued by U.S. Steel to Andrew Carnegie.

Each photo in the exhibition is capable of being enlarged on your screen by merely clicking on it.

Access to the "Steel Making Men & Machines" exhibition is gained from the Virtual Steel Works (VSW) page of Dave's Den.

Hope you enjoy the presentation, and I would be elated to see your reactions to it, comments about it, here on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave
My husband and I just had a discussion about the difference between iron and steel - and I said "wait a minute - lets go to Dave's Dan blog and find out."
We did - and thanks for the enlightenment.

Dave Yaros said...


Thank you, I am flattered that Dave's Den is deemed a worthy, reliable reference source!

I would also comment that the difference between iron and steel does not strike me as the typical spousal conversation.

Dave Yaros said...

dave metz said...

Hi Dave,

I am sending you this via email since I was not able to figure out how to log on to the google blogger thing. I couldn't even read the code word they put in the security box!

I am writing since I happened to notice the story about the 210 plate mill rolling steel for the windmills. Pretty interesting.

That mill has rolled so many critical things for the national infrastructure over the years.... The Alaska pipeline, the Verrazano and Mackinaw bridges, AO Smith grain silos, carbody plates for Electromotive, all the round 24" cover plates for the Titan ICBM missle silos, all the HY 80 steel for the nuclear subs...and more.

I am not sure when you worked there? My dad "Dick Metz" was a rolling foreman in the 210 from the time it started up till he died in 1977. In fact, dad was one of the start up guys sent to Pittsburgh to learn how to run a " 4 high" mill. Dad was a lifelong steel man, in fact Dad had his fatal heart attack in the Foreman's locker room while he was putting his work boots on getting ready for a 4-12 shift. Dad had worked in the 160 PM before that, and even spent a year in the old 60" PM pre-WWII as a second hooker on the roll line. So you don't get more dedicated than that.

I worked in the 210 for a couple of summers and winter vacations while I was in college. I worked some labor gang, but most of my time was as a Metallurgical Observer. So I had the great job of being able to wander around that entire mill and bullshit with everyone as I took my furnace readings etc.

Some names I remember are Butch Uskert, George Butler, Johnny Tokash, Chris Malis, Dago Frankie the In/Out crane operator, an old guy we used to call "Hillbilly" ...I think he was an overhead crane operator. An old lady named "Rosie" who used to work the Leveler. Frank Milich who ran the scale breaker. Varda Slobodan, who was a Slav immigrant with a degree in Mechanical Engineering whose degree was not recognized here in the states. Foreman Eddie Martin and Jim McCall, General Foreman Bill Heuer, a guy named Webb who was the Heat Treat foreman.

At one time, my dad's crew held the world record for number of plates ran in one shift. Butch Uskert rolled the steel, and my dad spelled him during the shift. Mesta Mills even ran a full page ad in the Post Tribune as a testimonial.

I can still hear the slabs hitting that mill, and feel the foundation of the building shudder. And I can recall the crackle as the salt would hit the steel to blow off the scale. Or the racket of a piece of cold 3/16" pipeline plate crawling down the roll line. I actually worked a few shifts throwing salt. Ball buster job, but a lot of fun seeing how load an explosion you could create. And I was the Met observer the day they rolled the Corten steel for the Chicago Picasso statue. Dads' crew rolled it.

And I can still taste an Egg sandwhich from the Canteen over on the other silde of the slab yard....egg sandwhich flavored with iron dust.....at 2 am. ( I worked straight midnites when I was there. )

And I remember one freezing Christmas vacation where the return on the grease line to the main bearing on the mill blocked up, and the pit under the mill filled with grease for about a week before anyone figured out what was going on. Well I was the guy who they sent down into the pit with 55 gallon drums and a shovel to clean out the almost frozen grease. Thats what I did when all my college buddies went out to the Rose Bowl to see Purdue Play.

So anyway, if any of this sounds familiar, hit me with a return message. I live in New York now, My brother still lives in the region, in Schererville.



Dave Yaros said...

To Dave Metz -


I know of your father, and am sure that we crossed paths a time or two. Likewise, Chris Malis was a family friend, although to my knowledge he was not at the 210 the same time as me.

My time there was short; from 1964 - 1967. Unlike you, I at times, as an electrician helper, had to actually work for my pay! I recall you Met Obs guys. They never, ever got their clothes dirty, did they?

As I have stated elswhere on my site, I wouldn't take the salt throwing job no matter how much money they tried to throw at me to do it. And, truth be known, the pay on that job was not that great.

As for "Rosie," the leveler operator, who did not know of her? She came into the mills in WWII, and never left. You would not want to either cross her on the job, or go out and have a drink with her after work!

Funny, when I read the windmill news article, my thoughts were drawn to the canteen food for some reason. The place was always dirty, and the food more than mediocre, to say the least.

At the same time, we had some damn good meals on the 4-12 shift; when we all brought fixins in and cooked a meal in the furnace!

In my days there, we working 21 turns rolling armor plate for ships and tanks. There was a little military excursion going on in Vietnam at the time, where it was needed!

Yes, the mill foundation and building would creak and moan when those huge slabs hit the rolls. I can hear it now. There was also the whine of the overhead crane lift removing the rolls from the mill stand. Even though the crane was rated at 250T, it strained under the load of a roll.

I understand U.S. Steel permanently reconfigured the mill back to a 160" setup before selling it to Arcelor-Mittal. So, technically she is no longer the "World's Largest Plate Mill." Rather, she is but one of a few 160's throughout the country.

Thanks for contacting me. That you did proves one thing: Making steel does get into one's blood, doesn't it.

Unknown said...


Found this site quite by accident. Thoroughly enjoed all of it. I started out as a U. S. Steel Operating Management Trainee at the old 160 Plate Mill in 1965.

In two weeks in the mill Foster Meeks, the General Foreman, called me into Mr. Edwards, the Superintendent, office. They told me I had to go home and come back on midnights as a relief turn foreman for the In and Out Furnace and Slab Yard Area. George Sullivan was the mill foreman that night. It was a real eye opening from the get go. Rosie actually worked there as a buggy line operator and when they cut back on operating turns she actually threw salt at the old reversing mill.

I then moved onto working at the 44" Blooming/Slab mill as a soaking pit relief foreman working for a Tom Edilblute. I then moved to the 160/210 Plate Mill working as a relief foreman in the Slab Yard and in the Plate Mills Shear Room area. I did get to work with Eddie Martin, Dick Marsh, Ralph Campbell,Dave Metz and the General Foeman named Len Tabaka. Tom Hunter Jr., was the Superintendent then. Another name who was General Foreman after Tabaka was Johnny Durkin who later became Superintendent of the Rail Mill. Bill Heuer, I believe had been promoted to another position. Bill Gorely was the Central Mills Divison Manager. Another great guy who worked at the division office was Mike Cusamano. Vice President of Operations at that time was a fellow by the name, I believe, of Spear. He had replaced an Ed Spitz who was intricate in the start up of the 160/210. I don't remember his first name and the Gary Works Super was Robert Dudderar(?).

Two of the biggest jobs I had was coordinating the rebuilding or relining of the two pusher furnaces at the 160/210 mill. What a learning experience that I remember to this day.

Thanks for the fond memories on your site and also those of plate mill.

Dave Yaros said...

Depending on when you were at the 210, we most assuredly crossed paths, though I was in maintenance. Our dealings with production types was only on an as needed basis.

Also, back then, you should recall another difference between foreman and workers; the workers had to walk to the plant, from either the Broadway or Burr St. gate. It was more than quite a hike, especially in winter.

I am glad you found my efforts on the site of interest, and enjoyable.

Your entry confirms what I have known and contended forever, not all memories of Gary and the mills are bad!

Unknown said...


You are correct in that all memories of Gary and the mills are not bad.

We probably did cross paths. Most likely when we needed maintenance work at the shears or on the cranes in the Continuous Furnace Slab yard on the cranes. I remember that we used to have substantial electrical problems with the cranes.

I was born and raised in Gary. Started out in mid town at Holy Trinity Church an Grade School. Moved to Miller and graduated from the now closed William A. Wirt High School in 1960.

Another name that I remembered from the 160/210 Plate mill was Mickey Esposito. He was one of the mill foremen. I have good memories of my days in operating management and the people I worked with and for in the mills.

One item I noticed in your pictures was you have a picture titled 5 stand tandem mill and it looks to me like a hot mill trane and definitely not a 5 stand cold finishing mill.

What year did you graduate from Lew Wallace?

Robert Laterzo

Dave Yaros said...


I graduated from Lew Wallace back in 19 and 64. Memorial Auditorium was still in use, and we marched down Broadway in our caps and gowns to the auditorium for the commencement exercise.

By graduation day, I was already working in the 210"; in fact, I was on days that day!

Bethlehem Steel also wanted to hire me, but as a millwright. I opted for the motor inspector helper job at Gary Works instead.

What I remember most about the slab yard cranes was having to tighten the shoes on the tongs. Real electrical work there, right? Also the gantry crane operator was always breaking the magnet wires. I cannot tell you how many times I spliced it. In fact, it got to the point the wire was no longer long enough, and had to be replaced!

I was particularly lucky in that I was the senior helper on the turn. So, whenever a motor inspector was out, I was moved on up. When I filled in my rate of pay doubled!

Truth be known, I probably never made more money in my life than when I was 18 and a millrat!

Dave Yaros said...

Some folks in the region are undertaking a sincere effort to start/open a steel history museum. The museum is an activity on the part of the Northwest Indiana Steel Heritage Project (NISHP). One of the prime movers in this effort is millwright Bob Meyer.

The effort deserves the support of all who have ever earned a dollar from working in the mills of Gary and the surrounding environs. Give it your support!

Here is a link to the museum web site NIHSP

Anonymous said...

As a new steel worker (4 years on the job MTM) I really appreciate the time you have invested in your site. With the downsizing and mergers, I feel alot of the history and pride has been lost. MY father worked at Inland Steel from 1957-1992 and I am proud to continue the steelmaking legacy. Let us not forget the people who toiled,and the people who died so that I can be employed today. If posiible more pictures and expand the site. God bless !!!!

Big Ed said...

Wow, the Memorial Auditorium...I remember going there with my Grandmother to the wrestling matches..Gary was a great place to visit when we were kids. You could catch the bus in Garyton and transfer to Marquette Park from Gary after watching a matinee show at the Palace or State.

Dave Yaros said...

Big Ed:

Pray tell, where was Garyton? While the term is not unfamiliar to me, I cannot picture it in my mind.

We too went to the wrestling events there. Were in attendance the night "Sky High Lee" went beserk and attacked anyone/anything in sight, injuring more than a few spectators!

Dave Yaros said...

"Pray tell, where was Garyton?

While the term is not unfamiliar to me"
Garyton was a small railroad town that became part of the city of Portage in 1967 when it Incorporated, it was located on the west side of Portage in the area of Swanson and Mulberry Ave just south of Central, portage is made up of 5 such small railroad towns.
I too now work for USS as an MTE motor inspector on the south blast furnaces, I came from a life long career in the electrical world (37yrs) with contracting the last hold I had on it as this area was going down really fast and I was about to loose my home and everything, so a friend told me about the openings at US and I applied and got in, at 53 job hunting was not what I was expecting to be doing.
I find you site very interesting as I was searching for info on how blast furnaces operate, it looks like much has changed over the years from the days of open hearth to the days of BOP's and QBOP's, much in the way of safety has also changed as we go through a rigorous safety training before we even get into the plant.

Thank's, Wayne

17 September, 2012 10:21