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Boys of Steel: 1941

Boys of Steel: 1941

        "Those icicles have been known to kill people!"

January 1941. "Houses and Pittsburgh Crucible Steel Company in Midland, Pennsylvania." Medium format negative by Jack Delano. View full size.


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The smell of money

I grew up just down the road from Midland. Almost all of the men in my family worked at Crucible Steel.

We used to write our names in the orange dust on the hood of the car.

Whenever someone would say anything about the smell of sulfur in the air, my granddad would say, “That’s the smell of money.”

Winter Wonderland

That kid on the left looks like an Eadweard Muybridge subject. Ah, youth!

I frequently wonder

How they heated those clapboard houses with leaky sash windows?

Or did they just burn as much coal as they could afford and otherwise live with the draughts?

Brush the snow off the seat

Getting that roadster going on a winter morning wouldn't be that much fun, though given the lack of a license plate, I suppose it didn't get out much. Then again, it does have air in the tires.

Notice the snow on the porch roof across the street, but none whatsoever on the roofs of the houses. Insulation? What's that?

What the photo can't show

These kids are actually walking to School, uphill, backwards and in the Snow, just like Grandma and Grandpa did.

I used to wonder why Midland had a red tint.

Just coming into town with a load of limestone for the mill one day in the early seventies when one of the valves on top of a blast furnace let go. You talk about spectacular! A volcanic plume of red ore dust erupted first punctuated by a huge blast of fire when the carbon monoxide ignited. It was jet engine noisy while it lasted then it abruptly stopped. No emergency sirens, no whistles calling out danger. Move along, nothing to see here, move along. I found out why Midland had that red tint though.

From Anthracite to Atoms

The Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station lies just across the Ohio River from Midland. If you've ever flown into Pittsburgh and noticed two cooling towers about 30 miles northwest of the airport, you were very near Midland.

Today, instead of coal smoke, you're likely to see white clouds of steam rising into the sky.

Smock Alert

Nice clean air! Give Trump some more time to make it like this again.

In Hiding

I'm just waiting for Scut Farkus and his crummy little toady, Grover Dill, to jump out from behind the car.

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