Thursday, October 15, 2020

Cleveland, OH: Abandoned/US Steel/Central Furnace

(HAER; Satellite, the address comes from HAER)

In 1865, a corporate ancestor of this company installed the second Bessemer (Kelly) converter in America. [HAER-data] (The first was in the Detroit area in 1864.)

13. Blast furnace plant embraces the east bank of the Cuyahoga River. Plant was established in 1881 by the Cleveland Rolling Mill Co. It was absorbed by the American Steel and Wire Co. in 1899 and, two years later, by the U.S. Steel Corp., which closed it in 1978. View looking north. - Central Furnaces, 2650 Broadway, east bank of Cuyahoga River, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH
[I have not been able to identify the bridge across the river.]

HAER OHIO,18-CLEV,32-, cropped
14. Blast furnaces D (at left) and A, looking west. - Central Furnaces, 2650 Broadway, east bank of Cuyahoga River, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH

The history of Central Furnaces—in continuous operation for almost one hundred years—illustrates Cleveland's role as one of the Nation's leading iron and steel centers. The plant was established in 1881 by the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company to supply pig iron to its steel works at Newburgh. In 1899, this company was acquired by the American Steel & Wire Company of New Jersey, which in turn was absorbed by the United States Steel Corporation just two years later. After 1933, when the Newburgh steel works closed. Central Furnaces continued to produce merchant pig iron for a variety of foundry customers. Furnace D (1911), still extant [written in 1979], represents one of the early experiments in thin-lined furnace construction. An ore-unloading dock, installed in 1908, features two 10-ton-capacity Hulett unloaded built by the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Company of Cleveland. [HAER-data

Steve Vanden Bosch posted
Onoko from Detroit Publishing Collection from the Library of Congress
Dale Pohto: Looks to be the Central Furnace plant on the Cuyahoga.
Brigham Cowan: still amazed at the resolution of these old photos. If someone was in that pilothouse holding up a newspaper.. we could read the headline

Steve Vanden Bosch posted three photos with the comment:
Here is a photo from the Library of Congress of the R E SCHUCK which became the HYDRUS which foundered in the great Storm of November 1913. She was built by American Shipbuilding in Lorain Ohio in 1903 for Gilchrist Transportation.
And thanks to Fred Bultman who pointed out this photo was at Central Furnace Cleveland which was the same location as our previous cover photo of the Onoko
[The comments continue with details about the ship.]




I wonder where this photo was taken because it has lots of Hulett Unloaders and some ore bridges.
Paul Erspamer commented on Steve's post
HYDRUS unloading, Jared Daniel photo.

5. Copy of a c. 1880 Photograph showing the Newburgh Blast Furnaces of the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company.
[These furnaces evidently did 60 tons/day.]

Newburgh expanded by establishing the Central Furnace site in 1880.
  • 1883, Furnace B: 75' high by 20' in diameter, 275 tons/day
  • 1887, Furnace C: 80' x 20', 275 tons/day, the Newburgh furnaces were dismantled in 1884
  • 1901, Furnace A: 100' x 21'
  • 1904, Furnaces B and C were rebuilt
  • 1911, Furnace D: 93' x 22', 500 tons/day. It was the fourth experimental "thin-lined" furnace to be built in the US. (It used a steel jacket that was water cooled.)
  • During the depression, the Newburgh site was closed so Furnaces A and C were removed in 1935.
  • 1954, a new Furnace A was built to supply pig iron to the Ford Motor Company's Cleveland Engine Plant. Diameter was 26' [] (I remember that my first car, a 1971 Ford Torino, had a "Cleveland big block" engine.)
  • By 1962, Furnace B had been removed.
  • 1978, US Steel shut down the two remaining furnaces: D and new A.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Aban/EJ&E "H" Yard


This yard probably supported the steel works so it became obsolete when the steel mill closed. It is another demonstration that railyards are "brown land" and resist redevelopment. But the northern track is still left and it connects CN's EJ&E assets with CN's GM&O assets.

Dan Tracy posted
CN 5283 ran light down to Arc Terminal and returned with about 20 tank cars of Asphalt to H yard and beyond on 8-10-18.
Dennis DeBruler How far south on the UP part of the Alton Route does CN have trackage rights?
Dennis DeBruler I've noticed that the big yards are divided up into lettered sections to reflect their function in the yard. Do you have a reference that would explain where "H Yard" is?
Dan Tracy H yard was just east of Collins St. IL rte 171. It's a EJ&E designation. I don't know why but would assume it was for the steel mill business they had.

HalstEd Pazdzior posted
IC 1003 leads the ARC job past Joliet UD Tower. This job originates at CN Joliet yard, takes the H yard connection to then get on the old B&O/ Alton?

Dennis DeBruler commented on HalstEd's post
According to a satellite image, the northern track of the "H" Yard still exists as a connection between CN/EJ&E and CN/GM&O.
1954 Joliet Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
HalstEd Pazdzior: Dennis DeBruler yes it does. The ArC local and UP stack trains take them to get from the EJE to the GM&O

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Groveland, KS: Grain Elevator


The 2005 SPV Map shows that this Rock Island route is now used by both UP and BNSF.

Larry Carver posted
Elevator in Groveland, Kansas, from my drone.
badge icon
I really like this shot, 
Larry Carver
. We need to team up on some elevators. The initial concrete part was slipformed by Chalmers and Borton in 1972. This was when they started building elevators without an enclosed concrete headhouse in order to minimize the risk of catastrophic grain dust explosions. Probably within 10 years the two smaller jump form bins were added. The two small galvanized steel corrugated bins appear to be a quick addition to increase capacity for a particularly large harvest. The larger jump form bins were added a couple of decades later after grain could no longer be shipped to terminal elevators for storage pending sale because the railroads phased out the transit provision in their rate structure. The former Rock Island, now Union Pacific, railroad does not handle grain shipped from elevator. Mid Kansas Co-op has a nearby unit or train loading facility capable of loading 110+ hopper cars which is supplied by several of their country elevators in the area.
When I looked at a satellite image, I noticed that they also have ground storage. And Larry's photo shows that it is used.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

West Mineral, KS: Big Brutus (B-E 1850-B) donated by Pittsburg and Midway Mine Co.


I didn't even know that Kansas had coal until I started researching Big Brutus, the world's largest surviving electric shovel. This shovel has been preserved as a museum. They also display some smaller equipment to provide scale and some more history.

Barry Thornberry posted

Big Brutus stripped overburden from 1963 until 1974 when the economical coal reserves became exhausted. [KansasSampler] 150 railroad cars were used to ship the 11,000,000 pound shovel from the Bucyrus-Erie plant in Milwaukee. Strip mining coal in southeastern Kansas began in the 1870s and became the preferred method by the 1930s. 300 million tons of coal were removed from the area. [kshs]
Big Brutus wasn’t always the biggest shovel—its mightier “sister” Big Bertha was dismantled, and the largest electric shovel on earth, the 22 million pound “Captain”, was scrapped in 1992, leaving Brutus to hold the lonely title. In the 60’s and 70’s, when the mining giants were in their heyday, Big Brutus’ bucket could lift 150 tons of coal, and worked at a speed of 0.22 MPH, 24 hours a day, using as much electricity as a town of 15,000 people. [AtlasObscura]
It was the second largest operating shovel when it started work in May 1963. [asme]

asme, p2
It had a maximum stripping depth of 69' but the 18-24 inch coal seams that it exposed were just 20' to 50' below the surface. It used 7,200 volts and up to 1,200 amps. (8.64mw = 11,586 horsepower. Two of its electric motors were 3,500 horsepower each.) During its decade of operation, the $6,500,000 machine exposed 9,000,000 tons of coal. "Standing 160 feet high, weighing 5,500 tons, and moving at speeds up two-tenths of a mile per hour, the machine stripped about a square mile per year. The bucket scooped out 90 cubic yards or 135 tons of earth with each bite." [asme] Most articles quote the "heaping" capacity of 150 tons.

Two photos by Mike Isakson via KansasSampler.


Once again, a road map allows us to see the land scars or tattoos of strip mining. There are a lot more tattoos northeast and then further north of this area.

You used to be able to climb up the boom for a spectacular view of the country side. [comments on a post]

There are several videos on YouTube about this shovel.

This post has a video of it in operation.

I was an engineer at that mine in the early 70's the center pin had a two person elevator in it. My memory is that it had a 90 yard bucket. It was all electric with an MG set and ran 24 hours 7 days a week.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Mina (Edgerton), OH: NYC Mainline Coaling Tower


Raymond Storey posted two photos.
It was not unusual for mainline coaling tower to be located outside of a town. For example, IC was north of Gilman.
And CB&Q was east of Mendota.

2, cropped

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Hamilton and Nanticoke, ON: USS/Stelco and A-M/Dofasco Blast Furnaces

(see below for satellite images)

Stelco Hamilton Works

The mill is a lot bigger than the town of Nanticoke, ON. It looks like this mill is a relatively recent greenfield mill built further south of Hamilton so that the ore carriers did not have to waste time going through the locks of the Welland Canal.
Stelco Lake Erie Works, the 3D view was not available

ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Most of the steel mills were built on landfill.

This post taught me about these mills

Bob Bratina posted three photos with the comment: "Stelco D demolished-2004 but Lake Erie Works is getting an upgrade and reline to 'Smart' category."
Jason Spears Was this furnace in Hamilton or Nanticoke?
Bob BratinaAuthor Jason Spears this was in Hamilton. The Nanticoke furnace is getting a major overhaul right now. We have 3 more blast furnaces going in Hamilton at ArcelorMittal Dofasco. And another in Hamilton mothballed. That’s a lot of furnaces in our area. I love them.
Brad Maybee Bob Bratina only 2 running right now at Dofasco Hamilton one is idled.
Bob BratinaAuthor You’re right

Dennis DeBruler A rare view of the "guts" of a blast furnace.

Glenn Gillis Stelco Furnace D - around 2004, Bob Bratina?
Bob Bratina Glenn Gillis yes. I took the picture the day before they demolished it. Came down Sept 5/04. The demo guy told me the contract was for $1 dollar. They got the salvage.

Stelco was founded in 1910 and was bought by US Steel in 2010 and is renamed US Steel Canada. Dofasco was founded in 1920 as a steel casting company and bought by Arcelor in 2006. "1945: With the end of the Second World War, Hamilton's mills produce about half of Canada's steel. 1954: Dofasco becomes the first steel company in North America to begin using a basic oxygen furnace, a more efficient way of making steel than the traditional open hearth method. Stelco remains committed to open hearth technology until the late 1960s. The same holds for the adoption of continuous casting technology. 1981: Stelco opens its new $800-million Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, just as domestic demand for steel falls sharply." In general, it appears that Dofasco was quick to modernize and Stelco was slow. And the two companies also had different relations with unions. [TheSpec]
The fifties represented a time of rapid expansion for Dofasco. In 1950, engineers reclaimed land from Hamilton’s Bay, and in 1951 the site welcomed its first blast furnace and coke plant. In 1954, Dofasco was the first company in North America to adopt a basic oxygen furnace, and just a year later management established the Research and Development department to continue inventing new steels and technologies. [Dafasco]
Stelco is the current name for The Steel Company of Canada, which was formed "in 1910 via the merger of Montreal Rolling Mills, the Hamilton Steel and Iron Company, and a handful of secondary companies located from Gananoque to Brantford." [stelco]

Leonardo Labarbera posted
Original picture of dofasco hamilton
Wow! Just one battery! Later called #2 battery after additional battery’s added on either side of it.
I cant remember exact year but the first coke battery and #1 byproducts was built in early 1950’s... i want to say 1953.

Charging the BOF at Lake Erie Works

Micahael Hrysko posted
Looking eastwards .... Dofasco ., Bayfront area complex

(new window)

(new window)  This video consists of a bunch of close up scenes that don't mean much to me. But at 1:55 it shows the pusher shoving the contents of a camber to the other side. And at 2:25 it shows the door of a camber being closed. I can't believe they didn't show the coke coming out of a chamber and falling into the hot car. At 2:37 we see the coke in a hot car on the way to the quenching tower, and at 2:39 we see the steam coming out of the tower at the start of a quench

(new window)  Skip the first minute, it is just intro. The #3 coke plant is at 6:30. (source)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

(Peoria) Bartonville, IL: Liberty/Keystone Steel and Wire


The first photo below shows the roof of the Electric Arc Furnace swung to the side. The three glowing circles are the holes through which the electrodes are lowered into the furnace when running. The roof is swung to the side so that they can dump scrap iron in it for the next melt.
David Denis posted

This shows the EAF in operation. Look at all of the emissions they have to capture and remove.
David commented on his post
Eaf lmf is next to it
[EAF = Electric Arc Furnace, LMF = Ladle Manufacturing Facility. I presume that the LMF is the "big box" on the right because it appears the structure on the left holds the roof and electrodes of the EAF.]

I was going to add this photo to my ladle notes, but when I learned this was near Peoria, IL, I decided to do some research. Unfortunately, the web site for Liberty Steel & Wire is remarkably devoid of information. I noticed on Google Maps that Keystone Steel and Wire was in the vicinity. My 2005 SPV Map shows the industry east of the C&NW tracks in this topo map was Keystone Steel & Wire. 
1949 Peoria West Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

Fortunately, the Keystone web site still exists and it has a nice video. I hope this web site remains active because I don't know how to save a copy of the video.
Screenshot @ 0:13

Liberty Steel purchased Keystone Steel & Wire rather recently (Dec 2018) for $320m. "The acquisition adds a wire rod facility with an electric arc furnace (EAF), RedBrand agricultural fence products, industrial wire, a bar mill, three welded wire reinforcement mesh facilities and a PC strand facility to the Liberty Steel USA family." [RecyclingToday] The new owners plan to double the capacity of the plant by 2021. [pjstar] That has to be good news for the employees.

Keystone was based in Texas and has plants in six other states. But this plant, founded in 1889, will play a major role in the expansion. "“We’re only at 40 to 50 percent capacity now and we’re still making money,” said Taylor, who recalled talking with the late state Sen. George Shadid in 2002 when Shadid helped orchestrate a $10 million loan from the state to rescue the then-struggling plant from financial trouble." [pjstar] I wonder where this plant got its steel from when it started. EAFs were not developed until the second half of the 20th Century. Did Bartonville have a blast furnace?