Recognizing the profits of mass production, Carnegie hired engineers to streamline and mechanize the steel making process so that it ran with thousands and
thousands of unskilled workers. When Carnegie merged with Henry C. Frick's coke mining and processing company, they introduced the nation to the modern
corporation with control over all aspects of production from ore to finished product ("integrated manufacturing") and changed the face of Pittsburgh.
In short order steel mills moved into the flood plains rural river towns such as Homestead, Duquesne, Aliquippa, Monessen, and Ambridge. A large steel plant
had everything it required nearby, shoehorned into the tight space of the river flats: blast furnaces, foundries, rolling mills, and machine shops to make plant
equipment. Boilers and powerhouses next to the plants kept them operating independently. Furthermore, to make sure those factories were steadily supplied,
Carnegie Steel bought the coke mines, iron fields, and even the railroads that connected them to the mills.

By 1910, Pittsburgh produced 25 million tons of steel; more than 60 percent of the nation’s total. It was the high-water mark for Pittsburgh’s share of
national steel production.  By the 1920's Pittsburgh produced one third of the national output of finished and rolled steel. It had the world's largest tube and pipe
mill, structural steel plant, rail mill, wire manufacturing plant, bridge and construction fabricating plant. Pittsburgh also led in the manufacture of electrical
machinery, railroad cars, tin plate, glass, fire brick and aluminum finishing. Forty percent of the nation's coal came from within 100 miles of Pittsburgh.  The
1930's saw Pittsburgh creating the steel that would be used for skyscrapers the world over including New York's Empire State Building and the Chrysler
Building.  During the 1940's it was Pittsburgh that supplied the war machinery that would conquer Germany & Japan.  The "Smoky City" was the epitome of the
modern emergence of this country's ascendency to a superpower.

By 1970, Pittsburgh would have the distinction of being the third largest corporate headquarters city in the United States. With but few exceptions, all these
companies or their antecedents were founded during the period between 1870– 1910: Alcoa, Allegheny Ludlum, Blaw-Knox, Consolidation Coal, Copperweld
Steel, Crucible Steel, Dravo, Fisher Scientific, Gulf Oil, Harbison Walker, H. J. Heinz, Jones & Laughlin, Joy Manufacturing, Koppers, Mellon National Bank,
Mesta Machine, Mine Safety Appliance, National Steel, Pittsburgh Chemical, Pittsburgh National Bank, Pittsburgh Plate Glass, Pittsburgh Steel, Rockwell
International, United Engineering and Foundry, Universal Cyclops, United States Steel, Westinghouse Air Brake and Westinghouse Electric. With the exception
of the two banks, Heinz and a couple of light manufacturing companies, it was heavy industry all the way.
Homestead Steel Works
Early 1900 - Looking Towards Southside
Industrial Pittsburgh
"The Real Men of Steel"
These photos were donated to the SteelCactus Foundation by Douglas Haney.
Photos restored by the SteelCactus Foundation
Photo Antiquities Museum of Pittsburg
531 East Ohio Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 231-7881
See photos like these in their original form!
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Andrew Carnegie's opening of
the Edgar Thomson Works at
Braddock in 1875 introduced
cheap, high-volume steel to the
Pittsburgh region. As a young
executive of the Pennsylvania
Railroad, Carnegie saw that
iron train rails were wearing
out too quickly, causing
devastating train derailments.
The railroad was ordering
stronger Bessemer steel rails all
the way from England, which
inspired Carnegie to quit his
railroad job to manufacture
them in Pittsburgh.
Combining all of the elements
of the areas natural attributes;
plentiful coal, rivers of water,
cheap labor and the grit of its
inhabitants, he turned the
sleepy 'Burgh into a burning
monster of heavy steel
production that fueled a
century of fortunes and
industrial achievement.
Homestead Works
140 Inch Mill
1895 Homestead Works - 90 Ton Ingot
1895 Homestead Works - Pouring 90 Ton Ingot
Pittsburgh is more than a city," declared Herbert Casson in his popular history The Romance of Steel (1907). It was "the
acme of activity," "an industrial cyclone," a region of "sweat and gold," a singular place where labor became "an untiring
fury to produce." As awe-inspiring as the Grand Canyon, Pittsburgh possessed the "secret of perpetual energy which
science cannot explain." Another popular image put it simply:
"Pittsburgh is hell with the lid off."