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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Open Hearth Steel

River Pump House

 

—Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area —

 
Open Hearth Steel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, April 20, 2016
1. Open Hearth Steel Marker
Inscription. The cement pad beneath your feet was once the floor of the Pump House for Jones & Laughlin's No. 2 Open Hearth Shop. Pump houses were an integral part of the steelmaking process. Water, used for cooling of the metal and machinery, was pulled from the Monongahela River into high-capacity pumps. From there it was pushed through underground pipes to No. 2 Shop and the surrounding mill facilities.
 
Erected by Friends of the Riverfront, DCNR, National Park Service.
 
Location. 40° 25.726′ N, 79° 57.829′ W. Marker is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County. Marker can be reached from Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Touch for map. Located on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail behind the Hofbrau House and the Hyatt Hotel on Pittsburgh's South Side. Marker is in this post office area: Pittsburgh PA 15203, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The MonCon Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); Materials Handling (within shouting distance of this marker); Hazelwood: A Rivertown Rich in History (approx. ¼ mile away); Eliza Furnace (approx. 0.6 miles away); Iron and Steel Workers
Three Generations - A Family's Tale image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, April 20, 2016
2. Three Generations - A Family's Tale
Steelmaking was often a family affair. Young men grew up expecting to join their fathers, brothers, and cousins in the mill. Ken Kobus (pictured bottom left) related the following story of his experience of going to work with his father. Ken was a third generation J&L man - his grandfather worked 47 years for the company; his father, John (pictured top left), started in 1937 and Ken in 1966.

"When I went into the Shop [for the first time with my dad], I found out that they were going to let me tap the furnace. A lot of guys started coming around and gathering and I sort of realized that this was not the way it was normally, but I didn't really care. I hit the button and it blew up and it made such a god-awful sound, and there was smoke and fire and sparks, and it was just everywhere! And then the steel started running into the spout, and there were flames shooting up out of the spout, and I must have jumped 3 or 4 feet in the air, I was so scared. And then I knew why all these guys were around. They started laughing because it was such a sight to see somebody be so scared. I was the show of the Open Hearth that day."
(approx. 0.6 miles away); Jones and Laughlin (approx. 0.6 miles away); John T. Comès (approx. 0.6 miles away); Polish Army (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pittsburgh.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
No. 2 Shop image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, April 20, 2016
3. No. 2 Shop
On the site of this Riverfront Park once stood Jones & Laughlin's massive No. 2 Open Hearth Shop. Though once the industry standard, the Open Hearth Furnace is now mostly obsolete in modern steelmaking. It was used to refine steel by burning off excess carbon and other impurities from pig iron, scrap steel, and limestone to produce steel.

At the start of the 20th century, No. 2 Shop contained nine Open Hearth furnaces. By the 1970s, the outmoded Open Hearth was replaced by Electric Furnaces, which produced steel until the plant's closure in 1984.
Charging an Open Hearth Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, April 20, 2016
4. Charging an Open Hearth Furnace
Open Hearth Steel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, April 20, 2016
5. Open Hearth Steel Marker
Note walled area of former Pump House
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 22, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 158 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 22, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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