Youngstown Sheet & Tube Brier Hill Works

Youngstown, O. - Photo of the rolling mill gang at the YS&T Brier Hill works. Can you imagine working a job so dangerous that they marked safety milestones based on 24 injury free hours?

Photo courtesy of the Ohio Memory Project - No date availiable 

US Steel McDonald Works

McDonald, O. This is the only video I have personally seen that was taken inside when US Steel still operated the McDonald Works, and a home movie at that! In addition to hot steel being rolled, there are shots of the no. 14 and no. 15 overhead cranes.

The video is courtesy of Chris Kalis, who's late father Michael "Mickey" Kalis, is pictured in the video. In addition to being a craneman at the McDonald Works, he was an Army veteran, published musician, home builder, and owned both Siciliano's Restaurant and the Calabria Lounge on the Westside of Youngstown. Sounds like he lived a full life. 

US Steel Ohio Works

Youngstown, O. -This photo is dated 1947, I am guessing this was a rebuild of the #4 blast furnace. This photo features questionable safety practices and a nice birds eye view of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Brier Hill works in the background. The caption reads "Sledging shrink link into place on top ring casting at US Steel Ohio Works Youngstown Ohio"

Photo courtesy of the Ohio Memory Project. 

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Brier Hill Works

Youngstown, O. - This photo is interesting to me for a few reasons, but let's look past the (now defunct) Erie Lackawanna RR in the foreground, the (now demolished) Sheet & Tube blast furnace to the left and what I think is a (now demolished) US Steel blast furnace in the center/background. 

Let's talk about the old Division Street bridge on the left of the photo, which was taken in 1975. Right before they knocked down the bridge, my buddy Vito and I decided to walk over it to Brier Hill from the Westside. I remember holes in the pavement that you could see through to the ground below, and a single shoe in the middle of the bridge. I started to climb the arch on the Brier Hill side, holding either side of the H beam and using the half-a tennis ball sized rivets for footing. Made it less than 50' up the arch and came right back down hah. Didn't feel like falling 100 feet that day.

I was one of the last people on the old bridge, and one of the first on the new 711 version of the bridge. Right before they opened it, I drove up the Stephens St off ramp and cruised the wrong way to Brier Hill. Another dumb ass move, but it was closed to traffic so no harm no foul. 

Photo credit: Akron Rail Road Club

The William B. Pollock Co.

Youngstown, O. - Two photos, dated 1910, detailing construction of hot metal cars at the William Pollock Co.; and some of the employees of this company that closed in 1983. 

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

General Fireproofing Co.

Youngstown, O. - A patent, issued just over 80 years ago, for an art deco steel chair designened by Dwight Powell, of Youngstown, Ohio. 

PATENT OFFICE DESIGN FOR A CHAIR Dwight Powell, Youngstown, Ohio, assignor to The General Fireproofing Company, Youngstown, Ohio, a, corporation of Ohio Application December 7, 1936, Serial No. 66,374

Term of patent 14 years To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, Dwight Powell, a citizen of the United States, residing at Youngstown, in the county of Mahoning and State of Ohio, have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Chair, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, forming part thereof.

Figure 1 is a front perspective View of the chair, showing my new design; and

Figure 2 is a rear perspective view thereof.

I claim:

The ornamental design for a chair as shown.


Identification Badges - Copperweld Steel Co.

Warren, O. - I found my way into a Facebook group for Copperweld Steel retirees, where my grandpa worked for 33 years. He was hired in 1946, not long after he came home from fighting in Europe with a theater medal with five bronze campaign stars on it (fought in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland and two other major battles) and a beautiful Scottish war bride, who was a nurse in the British Army when they met. 

I posted a photo of his original ID badge in the group, and other people began to post their father's or grandfather's badges. Several of these guys worked at Copperweld also, they had followed their fathers into the mill much like my uncle did with my grandpa. There is some great history in the photos below. 

The first two digits on the badge represent the department. In my grandpa's case, 17 means the 35" mill department. The second series of digits is your hire number, meaning my gramps was the 4,610th person hired on.

Mr. Desantis also worked in the 35" mill complex. I am told he knew my grandpa well. He was hired much earlier, and actually rolled the first heat of steel in 1939. He and a man named Vic Masio were the only local boys, the rest of the crew was from Canton or Massilon, and were brought down to start up the mill. 

Mr. Ware

Mr. Hodgkiss

Mr. Miller

The Fight Against Black Monday

Campbell, O. - A heartbreaking ABC news report filmed shortly after the September 1977 announcement that they were closing the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Campbell works. This shutdown directly affected 5 of my family members. My uncle was telling me there were grown men crying in the mill after they found out, said it was one of the saddest things he ever saw. 

It's a damn shame the employee purchase of the mill fell through. I wonder how different growing up in Youngstown in the 90s would have been if the government would have helped us out and preserved the jobs the valley depended on. At least we didn't take it laying down I guess, I'm glad that Youngstown put up a fight. 

US Steel Ohio Works

Youngstown, O. Installation of a goggle valve (fabricated by the William Pollock Co., of Youngstown, O.) at the US Steel Ohio works in the 1940s. 

Goggle valve info:

In a blast furnace there is a need to control flows of high temperature and dirty, dust-laden gases. A goggle valve is a type of large industrial valve designed for this type of use. They are another signature item on a blast furnace.

Goggle valves earned their name because the valve plate has two equal circular areas each defined by a sealing ring on both faces of the plate. One circular area is solid and the other is completely open. These two adjacent circular areas resemble a giant pair of eye-goggles. When the solid area is across the valve passage, it blocks the flow of fluid through the valve, and when the open area is across the valve passage, fluid flows freely through the valve. There is no intermediate position. It is either open or closed.

To actuate the goggle valve is a two-step operation. First, a section of the valve body moves in an axial direction to unclamp the goggle plate. This movement is quite small, on the order of a fraction of an inch or so, just enough clearance to allow the goggle plate to move in its housing. Then the goggle plate moves. In older designs it rotates on an arc. That is the type modeled in this kit. The valves body then moves axially back to clamp the valve and seal the perimeter of the openings.

On blast furnaces the valve body is usually exposed to the atmosphere, since small leaks during opening and closing are generally not a problem. This makes the mechanism highly visible. However, in chemical plants, goggle valves are encased in a bonnet to capture any leakage during the actuation.

Goggle valves have two main advantages. First they tend to be compact and can fit in tight confines, though on a blast furnace this is not normally an issue. Secondly, when open, the valve presents a smooth surface to the gas flow. Other valve designs, such as a gate valve, tend to have a valve seat. In a high volume flow with hot dirty gases, the valve seat can cause cavitation, a kind of a bubbling turbulence, which wears away the valve seat and requires expensive maintenance. On the other hand, goggle valves tend to be more expensive to initially install than other types.

Youngstown Sheet and Tube

Struthers, O. - Photo taken 5/28/1937, less than a month before the Stop 5 massacre at Republic Steel during the Little Steel Strike. A bunch of bad ass female pickets at Sheet and Tube.

Image courtesy of the Ohio Memory Connection.

Youngstown Steel Door

Austintown, O. - Founded in 1924, Youngstown Steel Door was primarily known as a builder of boxcar doors and rail car sides. Prior to it's closing in the 2000s, Steel Door converted to a war time manufacturer in the 40s that employed quite a few females according to the photos available on the Ohio Memory collection website.  Rosie the Steelworker built external fuel tanks for some of the most legendary fighter planes of the Second World War. See below for a sampling of those, as well as a photo of their outgoing products from the mid 50s courtesy of Bob Abbatto. Stay tuned for a full post featuring some of the photos Bob took in Youngstown, specifically the West Side, during the industrial heyday of the Valley.



Details on the fuel tanks built at Steel Door.

Fabricating the tanks featured above.

Below: Steel doors shipping out from Youngstown Steel Door in the mid 50s, on what was then the Erie RR. When I was a kid this line, which ran near my house, was the Youngstown and Austintown RR aka my playground.

Youngstown Sheet and Tube Campbell Works

Campbell, O. - The boys in the Open Hearth department receiving their award for 1,000,000 man hours without a major injury.

My pops made his living, until shortly after Black Monday, hauling hot slag out of the Open Hearth in Campbell. I wonder if he knew these guys. He drove a slag truck for Industrial Mill Service until they shut down the Campbell works. He was working night turn, and after his last shift running to the slag dump he and his coworkers went for a drink to drown their sorrows. He said they went to a "social club" in Struthers called Saint Anthony's that served liquor at 7am on a Sunday, which I'm assuming was against Ohio liquor laws haha. 

A story he told me when I was younger still sticks with me. Apparently a ladle accidentally spilled hot metal on the floor in the mill, and they needed to get it cleaned up in a hurry. They loaded the molten metal into the open top dump trucks they used to haul the slag. It was so hot that the sides of the trailer were glowing red. The Christmas decorations were up in downtown Strudders, you know the wreaths and what not they hang from the streetlights. The decorations were melting off of the poles when he stopped under them, and the people walking down the street were taking cover from the heat radiating from the trailer. 


Youngstown, O. - "The End of a Long and Proud History" This is a sad one. This company built blast furnaces and hot metal transportation equipment that was not only used in the Steel Valley, but all over the world. They lasted 120 years. The tombstone in the bottom right of the photo reads "Pollock Company 1863 - 1983 Laid to Rest by GATX"  Present in this photo: Front, left to right: Barry Shultz, Bill Kasmer, Tom Hull, Jim Roper, Emily, Joan, Ray, Bob, Bill Hill, John Titak, Bill Deak, Jim Slifka, Mike Kohl, unknown, and Joe Bunosky. To right side of grave marker: Sam Muscatell, unknown, and Dwayne Schonce. Back row: Laddie Bodnor, Roger Powell, and Chester Queen. Images courtesy of Ohio History Connection.


The Final Shipment

Here are some images of employees dating back to the early days of the company

1910 -  Cinder Car 

1910 - Fabrication Crew - Could be building Cowper stoves for a blast furnace.

1910 - Showing off new safety goggles.

1940s/50s - Line of Pollock Co. cinder cars with US Steel's Edgar Thompson works in the background.

1960 - Pollock hot metal car at J&L steel Pittsburgh works.

Industrial Recreation

Steel Valley, O. - Let's talk baseball. At one point, company sanctioned or sponsored sports teams were the norm in the Valley.

I started looking into this because my mom knew a friend of mine's mother from playing with her for General Electric's softball team. She played for a team made up of employee's from GE's Youngstown Lamp plant and Austintown Coil. Not sure if the Warren plants, where she worked originally, had their own teams or what.

Warren, O. - I thought my mom's mom was in a Copperweld Steel Co. ladies bowling league for some reason but apparently I was wrong. What I did find out was that my grandpa played for Copperweld's ball club. The 35" mill kittyballers!!! Man I wish I had that shirt. My gramps is second from the right, squatting down. See below. Thanks to Aunt Denise for this photo.

Youngstown, O. - Carnegie-Illinois Steel Co's ball team. This photo is from the 1920s. Carnegie controlled the Ohio Works, the Upper Union Mills (Crescent St area) and the Lower Union Mills (near West Ave on the north side of the river). I wonder if each mill fielded it's own team, or if they all played as the Youngstown district. The "Lower Union Mills" jerseys throw me off. The block C on their hats reminds me of the Indians logo, which reminds me of the phrase "We're underway, at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario!" - Tom Hamilton, best announcer in baseball. Image below courtesy of the Ohio History Collection.

Youngstown, O. - Found this in a General Fireproofing company bulletin I acquired. Looks like they had a pretty mean softball team. Lots of familiar last names in this one. Maloney's, Palermo's, Tyndall's, Russo's, Zarlenga's. I posted something on FB about GF, and people were telling me they had a beautiful ball field down off Logan Avenue. Image below.

Youngstown, O. - Labor Day, 1939. Two years after the deadly Stop 5 riot during the Little Steel Strike. The boys from the Youngstown Sheet and Tube ball club posing for a photo at Idora Park. Image below courtesy of the Ohio History Collection.

Struthers, O. - An iconic image of a Youngstown Sheet and Tube ballgame at Campbell Park dated 1926. The blast furnaces at the Campbell works, and all of their beautiful soot, across Poland Avenue in the background. Image below courtesy of the Ohio History Collection.

YST Ball Game Campbell Park 1926.jpg

Youngstown Sheet and Tube Brier Hill Works

Youngstown, O. - Congratulations to the blast furnace department at Sheet and Tube's Brier Hill works for logging 1,000,000 man hours without a major injury!

Photo circa 1955 - Image courtesy of Ohio History Connection