SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

The Hanna Furnaces: 1942

The Hanna Furnaces: 1942

Coal tower over ovens of the Hanna furnaces, Great Lakes Steel, Detroit. Nov. 1942. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Arthur Siegel.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Coke ovens

I started my steel mill career in the coke plant in Aliquippa, PA (J&L Steel). If you look real close you can see the larry car under the coal bunker - you can see the cone-shaped hoppers of the car.

This sure is a clean coke oven battery! It isn't new - you can tell because the standpipes are rusty and there is some coal dust on the battery top. It was probably swept for a couple hours before the photo was taken!

There are 3 lids on each oven. As far as the ones that have the lids off (the ones where you can see fire) - it looks to me (because the flames are somewhat transparent) that the one closest to the camera is an empty oven - the coke has been pushed out, and it's waiting for the larry car to refill it for the next coking cycle. (The coking cycle on this type of oven battery takes about 24 hours.) The oven furthest from the camera appears to be being 'pushed' (emptied). The pusher machine would be pushing the coke out from right to left - thus the low flames on the right, where the oven is already empty, and the high flames on the left, where the gas is coming out as the coke is being pushed.

Coke Ovens

A coal car rides up and down the tracks recharging the ovens. It usually leaves some coal lying around on top of the ovens. This oven is VERY clean, possibly brand new. The coal is heated in the ovens without oxygen to turn it into coke. Coke is used in the blast furnace to turn raw iron ore into high purity iron. The iron is transfered to the oxygen furnace where it is mixed with alloy materials and the iron is converted to steel.

This is a rad photo

This is a rad photo - although that flame on the left looks like someone caught fire, hehe.

Coke ovens

There was usually a lot of coal all over the top of the ovens. The rails are for the "larry" car that charged the coal into the ovens, and a lot of smoke. The heat was really bad. We had to wear "wooden clogs" to keep the soles of our shoes from melting.

Coke Ovens

I spent 31 years working on the coke ovens. I must say that the ovens shown are the cleanest I've ever seen.

[That's interesting. Would there normally be coal or soot up here? And what are the rails or tracks for? - Dave]

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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.