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A Steel Plant Sprouts: 1942

A Steel Plant Sprouts: 1942

November 1942. Columbia Steel Co. at Geneva, Utah. "Steel and concrete go into place rapidly as a new steel mill takes form. The new plant will make important additions to the vast amount of steel needed for the war effort." View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Andreas Feininger, Office of War Information.


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The vehicles shown are a 1942 Dodge Pickup; 1942 Plymouth; 1940 Oldsmobile, and another vehicle behind the Oldsmobile that is too blocked to determine.

The Dodge pickup truck is pretty beat up after about a year on the road. On the door the first part of the wording appears to be, "PROPERTY OF DEFENSE PLANT CORPORATION, INSTRUMENTALITY OF U.S. GOVERNMENT," but I cannot make out the last two lines. The Plymouth appears to have some of the same wording on its doors.

Can you make out what it says on the left side and the bottom of the Dodge pickup license plate?

According to Wikipedia, "The Geneva Steel mill was constructed with federal funds from November 1941 to December 1944 by Columbia Steel Company and US Steel corporation. Vineyard, Utah, was chosen as the location for the new plant because iron ore, coal, limestone, and other resources necessary for primary steel making are located nearby; and because Vineyard is far inland, away from possible Japanese attack on the West Coast.

"Geneva Steel operated as a US government facility until June 1946, when it was sold for $47.5 million to US Steel, a vast underbid compared to the mill's estimated $144 million value."

Old Dodge

I didn't know that this model of Dodge was so old. Two years ago I saw one on an old farm in Missouri, during my travel to the USA.

Master of composition

Andreas Feininger was one of my major inspirations when starting off in photography, yet this is the first time I've come across his colour work.

His technical abilities are incredible, but I believe he doesn't get the credit he deserves for his lifetime of work. I love the composition and detail in this transparency and the colours in the vehicles tone in superbly with the colours in the landscape.

Gary Holliday

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