Saturday, June 21, 2014

Midvale Steel Works, Philadelphia 1930

J.R. Lindbeck, M.W. Williams & R.M. Wygant.  Manufacturing Technology.  Englewood Cliffs, NY:  Prentice-Hall, 1990.
The Midvale Steel and Ordnance Company  of "Nicetown" in Philadelphia was founded William Butcher in 1867 but prospered under William Sellers, better known for his standardization of US screw and bolt threads.  In the 1870's, the company became a pioneer in the development of steel for large naval guns and armour plate.  In 1878, the firm hired Frederick Taylor who was to go on to become "the father of scientific management" and the development of high-speed tool steel.  After World War II, Midvale was progressive squeezed out by the larger Bethlehem and Carnegie steel works of Pittsburgh.  It closed for good in 1976.  According to Workshop of the World--Philadelphia:

"In 1970, the newly reorganized Midvale-Heppenstal Corporation began the systematic shutdown of the Nicetown plant; its eulogy was written by Scranton and Licht:   'The last to close of our four nineteenth-century Philadelphia plants, Midvale is soon to be demolished. For the moment, its massive forge hammers are still in place, but they will never again shake the earth with their power. Their silence leaves a bitter emptiness after a century of steel and sweat.'"

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