Friday, November 13, 2015

US Steel: Gary Works

When I used to drive towards Chicago on I-80 in Indiana, I would notice an orange cloud over Gary, IN. This would have been true in the 1960s. I can't remember how long that cloud lasted in the 1970s. And when you entered that cloud, it had a very unique stink. I was always glad to get past the US Steel Works and drive out of the orange cloud. Today, the air is as clear as anyplace else in Indiana. (Update: a video of the failure of the gas collection equipment (stop after a minute because the audio includes bad language). Before 3:00, the output clears up. Imagine the sky in 1960s when none of the furnaces had gas collection equipment.)

In the 1973 view below, you can see some orange smoke coming out of some of the small smoke stacks on the left side of the long buildings in the middle. So it was not the blast furnaces that generated the stinky smoke.
Paul Sequeira, Public Domain

Elektrika Sign posted
Granddaddy of them all. U. S. Steel Gary Works in the 1960’s / 1970’s. 12 Blast Furnaces and 35,000 employees.
How many furnaces were running when that place was full tilt ?
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12. US Steel had another plant in nearby South Chicago that was almost as big as Gary. Called US Steel South Works. Largest Corporation in the world for decades US Steel was.
After the downsizing of Sparrow’s Point following its peak of 8.1 millions tons after 1958, Gary resumed its place as the largest mill in the country.

Back in the day when steel was on the peak.
Paul Sequeira, Gary Works, USA, 1973
Chris Knoxhill I thought steel was in the dumps during the 70s? Also, what railroad served this plant, the penn central or chessie system?
INDUSTRIAL CULTURE & PHOTOGRAPHY The recession came in late 70´s. This is 1973.
No idea about the railroad, sorry.
John Slowikowski Chris Knoxhill the first real blow came with the Youngstown sheet and tube on sept,19 1977 and was like a chain reaction after that.
Dennis DeBruler EJ&E was owned by USS and connected all four Chicagoland works: South, Gary, Joliet and Waukegan. It was a belt railroad around Chicago and connected with all of the trunk railroads. When CN bought it, a new company, Gary Railway, was formed to own and operate the tracks in the Gary Works.

Fourth of eleven Gary Works photos in a Gallery

Marco Flores posted a picture from an iron worker friend
Andrew Urbanski commented: "EJ&E on the hi line? interesting!"
Forgotten Railways, Roads, and Places also posted
Forgotten Railways, Roads, and Places posted again

A lot of the land is now vacant, but it looks like that the iron smelting (blast furnaces) are still working. Wikipedia indicates they still had 6,000 people in 1990. But this was down from 30,000 people in the early 1970s. The Bird's Eye Views are of the northern most blast furnace. Judging from the smoke stacks, it may be the only one still running.
Bird's Eye View
Bird's Eye View

Chip Douglas posted, rotated and cropped
Frank Fransioli: Thanks. What I liked about working there, aside from just the incredible, massive scale of everything, was that as you moved from East to West, you could follow the process of making steel, from raw materials through molten metal to rolling mills and finished products. I was grateful for the orientation that we received in our first few days and the rich diversity of the people I met there.
John Slowikowski: Still remember getting super lost in there looking for door 800 the first time I went there.

Steampunk Railroad posted
US Steel Gary Yard Stoves and Furnaces 11, 12. December 1907. Calumet Regional Archives, Indiana University Northwest.

safe_image for U.S. Steel restarting another blast furnace at Gary Works as steel industry recovers
Doug Lanum I'm curious, how do they start a blast furnace from cold and how long does that take before they're up and operation?
Stacy Mays Doug Lanum If I remember correctly, it takes 3 or 4 days to get the refractory in the furnace and stoves warmed up enough to start letting some wind and coke in. Then once they get to that point, every few hours they take the furnace off and open a couple more tuyeres. That depends on how well everything is heating up. It can take a few days once they start charging to get good iron.
James Clutch Raber Doug Lanum we were told 3 weeks to heat up the stoves.
Phillip Hawkins I have only witnessed a restart from idled furnaces. That is where the brick lining is kept warm to protect from being damaged . The only time i have ever witnessed a cold restart, is when they hzve done a complete reline or rebuild of the furnace and stoves. That does usually take 3- 4 weeks depending on inspections and preassure t
ets all going ok. They have had to cool back down before and make minor repairs before start up.
Mark Sparky Eddleman Doug Lanum years ago they just put wind to a stove and left all the wooden scaffold inside and let her go. Now using temporary heaters that increase the temp in small increment each hour to cure the gunite and brick mortar.
Stacy Mays Phillip Hawkins Like I said earlier, if I remember correctly. It's been a really long time since I was involved with a cold start. Like you the last few were after a rebuild. The question I haven't seen is was the furnace banked? And how long ago was that done? I think a banked furnace can stay warm for 6 or 8 months.
Mark Sparky Eddleman Stacy Mays we restarted a furnace here in granite city a cpl years back that was banked for 2.5 years right after a reline. They cured the gunite with a gradual heat up using temp burners then cooled it off and banked it. It was retired using the same process as if it were just relined. Slow heat up on stoves and furnace with temp heaters the loaded some ore and coke when wind was put to the stoves. The other furnace was banked at the same time but it was making iron before banked. They kept it from getting too cool in the winter with steam. I can tell u that the bottom of th shell is 20ft below the tuyere deck and in 25 years I have only seen it completely removed one time. We have excavated a 5x5x5ft hole inside at the tap hole to place the rebar cage known as the doghouse and even after being down 2 months the coke that was down there was still warm and with the help of some air blown on it became very hot. When we took the bottom shell out in 95 I was told that the heat down there was coming from what is known as the salamander. It could stay hot for months when out of service. We always clear the furnace of slag basically by hand pushing it out of a tuyere hole with the jacket removed. Bigger pieces are cut down to size using oxygen lance and removed. The floor is usually dug down maybe a cpl feet below the tuyere holes except for the doghouse.
[They are restarting the second of three blast furnaces as car companies recover from Covid-19. Operations in Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Texas remained idle.]

Update: 9:26 video, no BOF scene.

Al Miller posted
Pickets representing the National Maritime Union use a launch to take their message to crewmen aboard the James A. Farrell, which was docked in South Chicago on Sept. 20, 1946. This is an Acme Photo Service photograph.
Fred Miller II: What I would give for those forward cabins!
Steven Harverty commented on Al's post
A slightly different version of the same photo mere seconds later
Robert Campbell posted
The Henry H. Rogers is shown at Gary, Indiana in July 1965. Photo by John Vournakis.
Joe Shaver: I worked at Gary Works in the early 90s-when I was casting supervisor I was invited for tea aboard the Callaway while it unloaded. Marvelous middle of the night experience.
We always had to open the water bypasses when the ships came into the slip because if we didn’t it would clog up our intakes. Because of this, I always knew when they were coming in and I would always go down to watch if I had time.
Dale Belles: my parents and grandparents would tell me that sulfur smell was the smell of money (their retail business went the way of USS). Good times meant good times for all of Gary.
[So sulfur was what I smelled when I drove into the orange cloud over Gary when I was westbound on the Indiana Tollroad.]

James Torgeson shared
US Steel's 601' Str. Henry H. Rogers is shown at the Gary Works in this 1965 view. Needless to say, she was a coal-burner! The structure above her is the conveyor system from the sinter plant, which was across the slip from the steelmaking operations. The Rogers was built in 1906, last sailed in 1972, and was scrapped in 1975.
Mark Goodrich: Check out the Hullets and all the ore bridges. There were more ore bridges south of the conveyor also.
Stephen Schroeder: [Currently] There's only one bridge crane (8 bridge) north of the conveyor going over the slip and 2 south of it 1 and 1A bridge
Brian McCune commented on Robert's post
‘68 from the Crawford, after spinning on forward wire that was on the self releasing spile on the dock!
Al Miller posted
Henry H. Rogers opens the port of Gary on April 10, 1955, with a load of 10,300 tons of iron ore loaded in Escanaba. This photo is from the May 1955 issue of Pittsburgh Sidelights.
[Escanaba was owned by Cleveland Cliffs instead of US Steel, but its port was open (no ice) this early in the season.]

Bill DuFault posted

Where is ‘she’ located?

[Note the two 25 hz power towers in the background. Although the tops don't appear to be yellow.]

Luke Malin commented on his post of a Flickr photo
[Concerning the heavy duty "grey car:"]
Jim Jamrus: Not 100% sure but I think it's used to move the BOP shop ladles out when they need to be re-lined with new refractory brick.....Harbison-Walker used to have a shop on Clark Rd in Gary that would re-line both bottle cars as well as the ladles used in the area was local to EJ&E so non-AAR interchange cars could be used to reach it.

(This photo was supposed to be further up in these notes. But a Google bug put it at the bottom of these notes. Instead of wasting my time working around a bug that I reported weeks ago, I leave the photo here as a monument to Google's bug.)
David Flood posted
My grandfather in the middle. Worked at Gary Works from 1922ish to 1970ish
He hated having his picture taken so not sure how this happened. Wish I knew more about photographer and could find other photos they took.
Bubba Dubs There were multiple company photographers on US Steel payroll back then, so it could’ve been any one of them.

Joe Linvill posted
Here is my view.
Rock Gervais: We local 374.Boilermakers have built and worked on all of the USS blasts. My first job as an apprentice was one the 13 furnaces at that time. American Bridge.
Douglas Warner: USS Gary Works 4, 6, 8 and 14 looking west worked there almost 20 years ago...

Jonathan Bowman posted
[When I first saw this photo, there was a comment that identified it as #2 and #4 at USS Gary Works. But when I went to copy it, that comment had been deleted. I guess the USS photo cops outlaw commenting as well as taking photos.]
Dale Harboth posted
Gary Work Hot side

Dennis DeBruler commented on Dale's post
The building in the foreground now has a lot more ivy on the wall.

William O'Neal Stringer posted a story in addtion to this comment:
 I ran this old cow and calf set up for many years in the Gary Mill. Using the electrical power from the engine it cuts in half the speed but generates a lot of pulling power. This locomotive was built in 1939. This is the unit they would use to shake the coke cars.

Al Miller posted
On May 30, 1974, Cason J. Callaway departed the Duluth DM & IR ore docks with its first cargo since being lengthened by 120 feet at Fraser Shipyards. The Callaway carried a dock record 26,634 tons of ore for Gary. At 767 feet, she was well received by the fleet, which was looking forward to the similar lengthening of the Anderson and Clarke at the end of the season. (From Sidelights -- July 1, 1974)
This U. S. Steel photo shows the Callaway shortly after it returned to service at its new length. I don't know whether this was shot on its first trip.
Tony Gatliff: I thought they converted them to self- unloading when they lengthened the “AAA”’s ? When did they boom them?
Craig Barteldt: 1982
Stephen Schroeder: US Steel looks the same

Ryan Mihalak posted
Given the fact the billboard says "Company", this must be a pre-1952 photo.
Image courtesy the US Steel Gary Works Collection (1906-1971) of Indiana University.
[I left out some of his comment because it was wrong. According to the comments on the post, this ship is empty and being turned in the turning basin using wires. Note the Huletts on the right side of the photo.]
Jeff Milligan: . . . Fairless is of the same Vintage as the present day Alpena . . . sister type ships of the day . . .
Isaac Pennock: still winding around with the wires to this day

Robyn Riley commented on Ryan's post
I have the builder’s plate from her.

Fred Newman posted
US Steel, Gary Works, 1960
James Torgeson: Looking across multiple RR main lines straight down the slip to Lake Michigan. 
Anthony Letnich: 12 Blast Furnaces and 35,000 people.

Tim Alfson posted four photos of a train, including a caboose, by a blast furnace from the vantage point of the pilothouse of the MV/ Edwin H Gott.  (caboose post)

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