New Castle Refractories Co.


New Castle Refractories - New Castle, PA


I photographed this 105 year old firebrick factory on Industrial Street about a month before they knocked it down. I didn't know it was slated for demo, just how it worked out. There was quite a bit left behind in the office, some interesting reports and employee data. The production floors were gutted, and the kilns were falling in on themselves. The letter they heartlessly tacked to the message board (fig. 4) to let the employees know their livelihood was gone was still there, next to a calendar that stopped in March 09. I have that letter now, it's right next to the one I liberated from Copperweld Steel, where my grandpa worked. 


Coincidentally, the company that shuttered and abandoned this plant also bought the refractories arm of Shenango China, which I photographed the same day. I guess there isn't much of a market for firebrick in a valley that no longer makes steel. These are the ripple effects of Black Monday. Trickle down deindustrialization I guess.



US Steel Homestead Works


Rankin, PA.


I got the chance to go to the Carrie blast furnaces, which are pretty much all thats left of US Steel’s Homestead works in Pittsburgh. Same mill my dad hauled his second load of steel out of. I went with the guys from http://acousticarchives.com/ They documented the acoustics in different parts of the mill, and let me do the same with my camera. This video shows the same beat which changes from room to room as if it was recorded in the cast house, in a hot metal rail car or under the highline etc etc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw2N1tKJGKA pretty damn cool plus historically significant. If the mill wasnt deafeningly loud when it ran thats how the guys voices would have echoed. Glad I got to be a part of this.

Iron City Brewing Co.

Pittsburgh, PA. A can of "Steel Valley Beer" I found in the original Lawrenceville plant, which dated back to the 1860s. They were tearing down parts of the brewery, as Iron City was bought out and being brewed in Latrobe. Even thought we all know where the real Steel Valley is (cough YOUNGSTOWN cough), I like the bust of Joe Magarac on the can. You know, the steelworker's Paul Bunyon. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Magarac

“Steel Valley Beer” Iron City Beer Brewery. Pittsburgh, PA.