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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Electric Steel: 1942

Electric Steel: 1942

1942. "White-hot steel pours like water from a 35-ton electric furnace at Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp., Brackenridge, Pa. The finest quality steels and alloys are produced in these furnaces, which allow much greater control of temperature than other conversion furnaces. The proportion of electric furnace steel is rising steadily, even though this process is the most expensive. The furnace is tilted for the pouring; the flying sparks indicate the fluidity of the steel." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer for the Office of War Information. View full size.

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Been there, done that.

AL had four of these little furnaces. Eventually replaced by two 120 ton units. There is no way to describe the noise generated by an arc furnace burning in on a fresh 60 ton bucket of scrap. If you walked between two of them while this was going on your whole body vibrated. Charging was dangerous too. 60 ton of wet, or worse, icy scrap dropping into 60 ton of hot metal was a thunderous experience. The operators pulpit, the charging crane and the hot metal crane all had roll down blast shields that were used during every charge cycle. The "pours like water" comment is correct. The viscosity of 3000 degree steel is the same as water. When the hot metal crane picked up a full ladle after the furnace tap and the crane siren started screaming, you stayed away, far away.


I operated an electric arc steel furnace making high-strength alloy steel. Interesting job!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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