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Blast furnace photograph

@ Ohio History Connection

Ohio Federal Writers' Project


Dated ca. 1930-1943, this photograph shows white-hot molten metal being poured from a blast furnace into a ladle. This could be one of any number of steel mills in Ohio. In the early nineteenth century, there were a number of furnaces in Ohio that processed iron. These small industries were made possible by local iron ore deposits in southern and eastern Ohio. In addition, some parts of Ohio also had coal deposits that could be used to fuel furnaces. Because of their proximity to the state's iron manufacturing, by the second half of the nineteenth century communities such as Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown had begun to emerge as major industrial cities. Railroads also encouraged the growth of the iron industry. After the American Civil War (1861-1865), iron manufacturers in Ohio began to introduce new processes to refine iron ore. The resulting product was steel, which was much stronger and more versatile than iron. Because Ohio companies, such as the Otis Steel Company, were quick to adopt new technology, Ohio became the second largest producer of steel in the nation by the 1890s. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the rapid growth of some steel companies led to a wave of mergers that created big businesses like the United States Steel Company (U.S. Steel), Republic Iron and Steel Corporation. and Youngstown Steel and Tube Company. Very often, smaller companies that had produced either iron or steel since the early 1800s were either taken over or driven out of...
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Ohio History Connection

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Ohio Digital Network