Friday, November 13, 2015

US Steel: Gary Works

(Update: The US Steel Midwest Plant is part of the 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 maybe it was not the blast furnaces that generated the stinky smoke.
Paul Sequeira, Public Domain

Tom Cera posted
U. S. Steel Gary Works USA view looking northeast from the south end of the plant. Circa 1930s (est).
Bert Van Natter: I probably park my Mustang in that lot back in the late 60’s.

Kirk Martinsen posted
City of Gary Indiana 50-year Jubilee with USS above. 12 blast furnaces and all open hearths, the sintering plant, and 46 slab mill look brand new. All men in the city were required to grow facial hair.
Josh Rothchild: You just made that up about the beards, right?
Bill John William Allred: Josh Rothchild true, absolutely!! They even had a mobile paddy wagon on Broadway and would throw your butt in if you were caught without a beard downtown, folks on the sidewalk had a good laugh at the caged guys! All in fun of course!! No penalties!! Fun times, I was there, remember it well .. I have a set “2” golden jubilee ash trays, @ 2” x 6” black with golden inscription Golden Jubilee, Gary, Indiana, Seeing it in its current condition is almost like visiting a family members burial site.. sad-sad🙏🙏
Gregg Leech: I see the primary rolling mills with their soaking pits, if I remember the order correctly going towards the lake from the shops... Rail Mill, Billet Mill, 36" Slab, 44" Bloomer, and the new 46" Slab mill. 210 Plate Mill hasn't been built yet.
Karen Snepp: It was just part of the celebration, because facial hair was common in 1906, the year they were commemorating
John Grove provided two views with the question as to which USA steel mill was the largest in terms of annual raw steel capacity.
Stephen Karlson: I wrote the book on this, literally. As of 1972, Inland, annual capacity 9.4 million tons of raw steel; Gary Works, 6.8 mmt; Lackawanna, 5.9 mmt; Ecorse, 5.87 mmt; Youngstown at Indiana Harbor, 5.8 mmt; Sparrows Point, 5.8 mmt, they had closed some melt shops by then; Armco Middletown was 4.7 mmt; and Sparrows Point had not yet finished expanding, they were at 4 mmt, later that was pushed to 5.8 mmt. [Burns Harbor was still being built in 1972.]
[There are quite a few interesting comments on this post. Fortunately, the post is in a public group so you can access them yourself.]


Kirk Martinsen posted, cropped
USS GARYS WORKS 9/10, Blast Furnace row, Name the furnaces if you can. Second post to correct the picture.
Rob Lowther: 4,6,8 14 not in the pic
Mirko Ivanovic: 4 south most [farthest]
6 middle
8 north
Michael Sweeney: 8 is a smidge smaller than 4 and 6. 4 less tuyres.
Tim Armenta: Oldest ore bridge A1
Mike Demkowicz: Nice view #8 ore bridge.
John Fiala: Mike Demkowicz #9 lost in a tornado/waterspout!
Skip Burch: #8 is the only furnace with the dust catcher on the west side.
James Mcclure: Looks like ore yard filling up for winter. Here we go, lower right #8, next in the middle #6 and in the background #4. All that are left of original 12. Oh yes 14 is just to the right out of this picture. Keep on casting. 🔥🔥🔥🔥

The above photo is looking South.
3D Satellite

A short Facebook video   Get the volume turned on quickly because Facebook won't let you back up to hear the bell pressure relief. I put it at about 5 seconds.
John Mitchell: How many furnaces are operational?
Michael Sweeney: All of em
John Mitchell: Michael Sweeney That's great. My dad was superintendent of the hot rolling division. He retired around 1982. How operational is Gary Works at this time?
Michael Sweeney: The walls seem to be getting closer together at this mill, but we still make a superior product for the auto and appliance sector. That is what has kept us in business all these years. Foreign steel is still an inferior product. Our Blast Furnace's pour the best iron in the world, period.
[I noticed when ArcelorMittal sold most of their North American assets to Cleveland-Cliffs that they retained the R&D division.]
Kirk Martinsen: I can remember during 13 startup, they had no good clay to stop the cast, they buried 3 sub cars into one blob. Then they cut that 3 car blob up with torches and hauled it away.
William Granzow: Formerly #13 furnace, renamed by superstitious people after a rebuild.
Jim Head: William Granzow I was a contractor on #13 when it started. It was the wildest place I have ever been in a steel mill. 16” taphole lengths, casting on the floor, slag running down the material ramp, melting #1 stove combustion liming from full wind backdrafts and cutting torpedo ladles in half. Just to mention a few.
[Some comments argue if the top had a large bell or a "Paul Wurth feeding system."]
Ed Bowmar: Skip cars, maintenance nightmare. [The video shows them moving.]
A comment on the video, cropped (name deliberately omitted)

Joey Lax-Salinas commented on Kirk's post
Here is nearly the same aerial view, but as it looked in 2014.

From their web site:

Gary Works, U. S. Steel's largest manufacturing plant, is situated on the south shore of Lake Michigan in Gary, Indiana. Comprised of both steelmaking and finishing facilities, Gary Works has an annual raw steelmaking capability of 7.5 million net tons.

Sheet products, strip mill plate in coils and tin products are manufactured at Gary Works. Hot-rolled, cold-rolled and galvanized sheet products are produced for customers in the automotive, metal building components, home construction and appliance markets.

Tin products are also produced at Gary Works. These products are used by customers in the container industry in the manufacture of food and beverage containers, aerosol cans, paint cans and pails, and more.

United States Steel Corporation
Gary Works
One North Broadway
Gary, IN 46402
(219) 888-2000


  • Four blast furnaces
  • Three top-blown basic oxygen process (BOP) vessels
  • Three bottom-blown basic oxygen process (Q-BOP) vessels
  • Vacuum degasser
  • Three ladle metallurgy facilities
  • Four continuous slab casters
  • 84" Hot strip mill
  • Hot-rolled Temper mill
  • 80" and 84" Pickle lines
  • 52" 6-Stand and 80" 5-Stand Cold reduction mills
  • Electrolytic cleaning line
  • Three batch annealing facilities
  • 38" Continuous annealing line
  • 80" 1-Stand, 48" 2-Stand and 84" 2-Stand Temper mills
  • 48" 2-Stand Double cold reduction mill
  • 37" and 46" Electrolytic tinning lines
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 ?
badge icon
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.

Dennis Calkins posted two postcards with the comment: "Found a couple old postcards from the 60's today of the Gary Works. I remember seeing the mill quite often as a kid, since my Mother's family was from Gary and her Father and other family worked in the mill in the 50's & 60's."


Michael Reyes posted
Abdu McCully: Definitely Gary Works looking east from the 1 Bop Shop.

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.

Nick Hart posted
It's business as usual at Blast Furnace #4 as a pair of Gary Railway SW1200's shove on a load of coke.
Gary, IN
Craig Cloud: Launch point?
Nick Hart: Craig Cloud Great Lakes Cafe.

Fourth of eleven Gary Works photos in a Gallery

Mike Delaney posted three images:
James Torgeson: Gabe Argenta I have them as part of a spiral-bound J booklet, but I believe they’ve shown up in other forms. There are also diagrams for Joliet, Waukegan, AB, and Universal-Atlas.
[Largest mill in North America.]
Dennis Taylor: King of them all, and the photo doesn't show the Tin Division.
Tony Sal Garcia: I'm trying to see if see the rod mill.
Craig Robert Leach: Looks like Iron/Steel Producing and Merchant Mill only, with Open Hearths....old stuff



Eric Maul posted
Gary Works my place for 30 plus

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.

Kelly Emerick posted two photos with the comment: "US Steel Gary Works, first picture of #1 blast furnace & Hiline 1913; second one is Bop Shop & South blast furnaces circa 1940’s."

Kelly commented on his post

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.]

Al Miller posted
This photo of Eugene P. Thomas at Gary has something for everyone. It graced the back cover of U.S. Steel News magazine in June 1937. With the perfectly placed locomotive, conveniently located workmen and dangling buckets, I'm guessing noted industrial photographer Robert Yarnall Richie had carte blanche from the company to set up this photo.

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.

Raymond Boothe posted
Aerial view of the USS Gary Works No. 14 blast furnace (unkn/Dr. Raymond Boothe collection).

Raymond Boothe posted
Indiana Steel Company (Later USS Gary Works)-1917: View of the Bessemer Converter Shop (IU Collection/Dr. Raymond Boothe B&W repair).
Raymond Boothe posted
Indiana Steel Company (Later USS Gary Works)-March 3, 1916: View of the No. 1 Open Hearth Shop Charging Machine (IU collection/Dr. Raymond Boothe B/W repair).

Raymond Boothe posted
USS Gary Works: Forging railroad wheels in the wheel shop (Harvard Business Collection/Dr. Raymond Boothe B&W enhancement).
Dale Giolas posted
USS Gary Indiana, 1957 taken by my father John Giolas.
John Mabin: Can't beat standing on a pouring platform where you froze on one side and were toasted on the other. USS Gary Works No. 2 Q-BOP (if I remember correctly) and 46" Slab Mill.

Group participant posted four photos with the comment: "Various pictures of Gary Works #4 blast furnace, and #2 coke battery"


James Mcclure: This building on the right is still in use as division office for South Blast.
Jim Reinhold: South end of Fab D


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.

Ken Houseal posted three photos with the comment:
Definitely a first for me, I’ve unloaded into other ships before, but not from one footer to another. We rafted both 1000’ ships together, M/V Edgar B. Speer and M/V Edwin H. Gott. Customers needs were met and all was accomplished safely. 
(The Speer unloaded into the Gott, the Gott unloaded onto the pile in Gary) 
These sister ships have been first for a few things already this year, truly an interesting and exciting start to the season. 
James Torgeson shared with the comment:
In this unique view in the slip at the USS Gary Works, the 1004' Edgar B. Speer (1980), at right, unloads iron ore pellets into her fleetmate, the 1004' Edwin H. Gott (1979). The Gott is then using her 280' boom to distribute the Speer's pellets deep into the plant's ore yard. Apparently there's an issue with the receiving hopper that the Speer needs for her short shuttle boom, and this is the solution. Both vessels originally sailed for the USS Great Lakes Fleet, and are named for former USS Chairmen. The fleet is currently owned by the Canadian National Railway.
Don Stransky: In the 70’s at the Lorain Ohio docks a steam ship lost power and the boiler went down . They tightened the steam wenches to keep the ship from drifting away and had to wait for the next ship to come in . The next ship lashed up to the docked ship and extended jumper cables to get the boiler going on the dead ship . The only other time I saw ships together was during winter shut down , three abreast at the dock .



Mirko Ivanovic commented on James' share
Looks like speer was done offloading
Kyle SStover: “No coil barges today we’re gunna need y’all to shovel the transfer house all day”
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.

Thomas Boswell posted
Late 1980's view of Gary Works #7 three-meter coke battery. Seen is top side and pusher side. Bi-products dept. In the background.
Coal was loaded into the Larry Car shown topside, from the coal bunker, and then the Larry Car would charge the oven through several charging holes.
Thomas Boswell posted
Mixed C&O coal loads at the Coal Processing plant at U.S.Steel Gary Works mid to late 1950's.
Randall Hampton shared

Brian Fattore posted
Current Gary Works plant railroad map from 2021 STB filing.
[After CN bought EJ&E, a new railroad was split off to operate the tracks inside the mill.]
Cory Donahue: What is funny is that this is the map they give the poor truckers that come in the plant and basically tell them good luck. The amount of times I have been stopped by a lost trucker and looked at this map is ridiculous. They are given no direction whatsoever as to where they need to go.
Kyle Miller: Only one gate they can fit under to.
Anthony Zacchero: USS Homestead was just as bad probably worse. Also the receiver in the Storeroom/Warehouse was an ornery cuss. He was so mean/rude to those drivers it was terrible.

Thomas Boswell posted
Gary Works Coal Handling rail facilities from the early 1960's. Empties from the car dumper on the left ready to return to the Pocahontas coal facilities in West Virginia. On the right are coal loads from the Corbin coal washer in Corbin, Kentucky.

Tom Cera posted
U. S. Steel Gary Works blast furnaces under construction - circa 1907.
[A comment points out the horse drawn wagon.]
Kevin Nelson
This website has a lot of Gary Works photos.
[A continuous caster was added in 1967. [SiteTour]]

Comments on Tom's post

Julez Stefanik posted
My ”Then and Now” post

Dennis DeBruler commented on Julez's post
If they repainted it, what did they do to keep it from becoming black again?!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...
Pamela Goins: They haven't painted that as of yet. Not sure if they will.

Rocky Black posted
Mold yard was a crazy place to work.
Art Wright: Phillip Claxon Could be Gary, layout and stripper buildings, exactly the same.

Raymond Boothe posted
USS Gary Works-1930: View of Open Hearth Shop No. 4 (IU collection/Dr. Raymond Boothe B&W repair).
Raymond Boothe posted
United States Sheet and Tin Plate Company (later USS Gary Works): Employees working United tin plate machines (unkn/Dr. Raymond Boothe collection).

Raymond Boothe posted
Indiana Steel Company (later USS Gary Works): Coke push at Battery No. 6 (IU collection/Dr. Raymond Boothe B&W repair).

Raymond Boothe posted
Indiana Steel Company (later USS Gary Works-December 27, 1914: Rolling plate at the plate mill (IU collection/Dr. Raymond Boothe B&W repair).

Jim Prrfan posted
[Comments identified as Gary Works instead of South Works.]
Jim PRRFan collection
[It looks like an ingot train next to the building.]
Anonymous participant posted
#8 furnace Gary Works
Dave Willey: I’ve been near that furnace many times, but I don’t recall trees.
John Travers: Gary Works and a lot of other steel plants are letting weeds and trees grow within the plant confines since the late 1980s and to me it's just laziness and neglect on the part of the plant maintenance crew. It's also because of so much empty space due to so many furnaces/mills being demolished with nothing to replace the resulting empty spaces. It's a pigspen.
John Travers: No.8 was rebuilt to its present appearance in the late 1950s as a Koppers rebuild with the single downcomer, as were sister furnaces numbers 10, 11, and 12 in 1957-59, also at Gary Works. The rebuild furnaces had a scrawny, wimpy looking appearance, compared to the more robust-looking McKee built furnaces at nearby Indiana Harbor.
Joe Tarowsky: Ok so what is the roofed building attached to the furnace?
James Mcclure: Joe Tarowsky. This the Distrbution Control for PCI, PULVERIZED COAL INJECTION SYSTEM. Started this about mid 1990's. 🔥🔥🔥🔥
[Some comments talk about HBI allowing EAFs to make blast furnaces obsolete. HBI can also be used to reduce the CO2 emissions of blast furnaces. Of note is a comment by Bill Flanagan:
The process uses natural gas and high temperature to reduce the Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 from iron ore to Fe. Then it is hot pressed into briquettes. In a blast furnace the reluctant is CO from burning coke to do the reduction so this so called green process exchanges coal for natural gas.]
Comments on the above post

Carl Kaszycki posted
#8 Gary.
James Mcclure: Gary D Ingram It has 16 tuyeres. Not sure of hearth diameter. But it's the smallest of the 3 South Fces. Gary works
[Some comments talk about this is the one that fell over in 1995. No one was hurt and it was running again in 5 months. This is evidently a photo during a current rework in 2022.]
Ben Ben posted three photos with the comment: "Couple from last night."
Fred Mayo: Where is this?
James Mcclure: Fred Mayo #8 Furnace USSTEEL GARY WORK.
Stephen Cussen: How deep are those runners?
James Mcclure: Stephen Cussen. This is the iron trough. Just bring Furnace back on from extended outage. Been there, done that. Lots, lots of work.
Stephen Cussen: James Mcclure looks about 6ft deep. [James Mcclure liked it.]
1, cropped



Dennis Taylor posted two photos with the comment: "Plate Mill Heat Treat, USS Gary Works"
R Jim Echlin: Our company, Duraloy, furnished the rolls for the continuous heat treat furnace. They were 17 inches in diameter and if I remember correctly had a face width of 167”. They were cast in a heat resisting 38 % nickel, 28% chromium alloy.
Dennis Taylor: R Jim Echlin Changed out many of those rolls, some were water cooled.
Jim Foster: What year was this?
Dennis Taylor: This photo was taken in the early 60's, a few years later they built a almost duplicate line just north of the one pictured and in the late 90's built a walking beam hardening furnace south of the one in the picture.
Robert Meyer: What percentage of product was rolled in the 210" configuration as opposed to the 160"? 20/80, 10/90? This was a single stand mill correct? Do you know the diameter of the back-up rolls, 72"? Thanks in advance!


Dennis Taylor posted two photos with the comment: "210" Plate Mill, Gary Works."


Dennis Taylor commented on his post as part of some comments about a mill housing being cracked. 
Robert K. Rice: Dennis Taylor 10" slab with rolls set for 4" They tried forging instead of rolling. They tore up the front bearings for both upper and lower shafts in the motor room.

Dennis Taylor posted two photos with the comment: "210" Plate Mill housing and #2 Side Shear Gary Works."


Kris Pendowski provided two photos of Dennis' post with the comment: "Not my photos, current condition as of a few months ago. Mill posts in first photo, back of side shear in 2nd."

Nicholas Maggia shared a link
Rendering of $60m pig iron caster being built at U. S. Steel Gary Works (Graphic: United States Steel Corporation)
R Jim Echlin: I’m seeing a lot of comments which I don’t believe accurately depict what this is all about. My take on it is that the new pig caster is to be used to cast pigs from blast furnace iron allowing greater utilization of existing blast furnace capacity while providing melt stock for the Big River EF furnaces. This does not eliminate or reduce the use of the Gary Works BOFs. Casting pigs from blast furnace produced iron is far from a new process but to my knowledge has not been done at Gary at least in the recent past.
Gary Rigg: R Jim Echlin It is going to be another outlet for the iron the iron to go to so the blast for this is can run more efficiently instead of instead of going up-and-down and up-and-down it will be able to run more efficiently.
R Jim Echlin: Big River’s approach to steel making is based on the approach developed by Nucor and introduced in the 1988-89 time frame at the Crawfordsville plant. It is basically the “mini mill” continuous process that take EF melted steel from liquid directly to finished hot rolled coils.
Stacy Mays: At one time, almost every plant that had blast furnaces had pig machines.
Bob Featherstone: How will they ship the iron to Big River?
Pano Theodoratos: Bob Featherstone Barge like they’ve been doing.
Bob Yanik: About ⅔ of the pig iron used in the US comes from Russia. They might be trying to get get a chunk of it.
David Horn: Brazil, Russia and formally Ukraine had operational pig castors.. Ukraine’s pig castor got demolished in the war and most countries are not taking Russian exports. Leaving Brazil as the only pig iron producer. US Steel will be the next player.
Mike Matthes
: Good article here. "Russia and Ukraine account for more than 60pc of the pig iron imported into the US."
[Several comments speculate that Mon Valley will be shutdown after USS gets their new EAF at Big River working.]

safe_image for these notes
Just found great link with images and history of GaryWorks with detail I never knew. Apologies if duplicate.
I continue to be surprised when I discover a new album !
Michael Siola shared
[Some comments indicate that it used to be a very dangerous place for women to work in. They had to be escorted from the parking lot to their work stations by security personal.]
safe_image for U.S. Steel casting pig iron in major milestone at new Gary Works facility
"It is supplied by iron ore from U.S. Steel's mines in Minntac and Keetac in Northern Minnesota's Iron Range. It will produce up to 500,000 tons of pig iron a year, producing 50% of the metallics needed for the steelmaker's new Big River Steel Works."
Calum Learn: Is it a true pig caster or a granular iron caster?
Sam Foster posted
Drone shot I took of some torpedo cars coming out of one of the mills at Gary Works last Sunday. One of Gary Railway’s SW1200s in the lead of the train. 
Video from Gary Works and also Inland Steel:
Keith Friedlund: This looks like No. 1 BOP Shop at Gary. That shop was built in the late 1960’s. Cutting edge tech. at that time.
Zac Fuller: George Munoz it's coming out of desulf at the 1BOP.
Matthew Mrzlock: I watched the full YouTube video. The first mill recorded is actually the old LTV/ISG mill not inland. It is now currently Cleveland Cliffs Indiana Harbor West. The blast furnaces in the video is #3 & #4 on the west side and #3 steel producing. You can see the old 84” Hotmill in the background half diminished. Sad sight to see. Would love to see more of those demolished buildings if possible.
Randy Jureczko: I definitely don’t miss rerailing them.
William Arthur Timmerman posted
US Steel Gary Works 84” Hot Strip
 “Slab to coil”
David Hope: The 80" coils we made in Cleveland were never that red hot once they were in the coiler.
William Arthur Timmerman: David Hope this was a experiment we were trying to run 1” plate that day.
 Not a normal thing.
Robert Jenkins: At the 80' Hot Strip at Burns Harbor, we had to band hot coils for shipment to Ford. The job sucked as you could barely walk at the end of the 12 hour shift. You'd literally drink gallons of fluid, and not pee one time!!!
William Arthur Timmerman: Robert Jenkins this is after 2016 and they installed automatic banders and a robotic coil marker.
[Some comments indicate that the fresh paint job indicates there is going to be tour.]

Kris Rossmiller posted
What are these 2 similar buildings at Gary Works?
[Several comments answered: "The mistake by the lake." Another common comment was "Carbon X." To summarize some comments: Carbon X was an $800m plant to make synthetic coke.
One of the buildings is now used by a contractor.]
Kris Rossmiller: What was Carbonix or Carbon X?
Josh Tesreau: Kris Rossmiller it was supposedly a process to take less pure coal and still make high quality coke by blending the coal, making briquettes, then cooking them in a tunnel kiln that was 300’ long. It didn’t work well, trust me.
Matt Shaggy Ziolkowski: Kris Rossmiller carbonyx produces a greener alternative to traditional coke called cokonyx. It still uses coal as the main ingredient for the product but the alternative does not have as much environmental impact. Among other things, gary works dumped $210 mil into this project before ditching it because buying coke from the free market was cheaper than using carbonyx.
Randy Vanek: Billion dollar mistake by the lake.
Old carbonyx buildings. The thought process was to make synthetic coal. It worked on a small scale but could never get it to work on a larger scale.
Very sensitive subject to some people around Gary Works still.
safe_image for U.S. Steel restarts Blast Furnace #8 at Gary Works, photo by Jon L. Hendricks
[Fortunately, my paycount has been reset so that I can read this article.]
The furnace was shutdown last year in anticipation of a recession. Instead demand is going up. One reason is that auto manufacturers are now getting the chips that they need for production.
[They have also restarted #3 in Mon Valley Works on Jan 27, 2023. "Mon Valley Works primarily, but not exclusively, serves the appliance industry." [bizjournals]]

Andy Brooks posted eight photos with some comments indicating that this rebuild of the skip incline was done in Gary in 2017. Some comments indicate it was BF #6.
Mark Schmidt: Zug and Rouge did away with the skip hoists many years ago and replaced them with a belt feed system.


Before the skip incline was tore out all the way.






Zach Coen commented on Andy's post

Sam Foster posted four photos with the comment: "Returned to Gary this morning [May 27, 2023] and got some more shots of U.S. Steel. Lots of action like usual."
Brendan Keener: How many of the blast furnaces are running there currently?
Ron Vincent: Brendan Keener 4,6,8,& 14; all run.
Ronda Garcia Gil: No action in Tin Mill. Smh




Sam Foster posted two photos with the comment: "A couple photos from a recent drone flight over Gary Works on October 1st. Figured the sunset would make for some neat shots of the mill. The Arthur M. Anderson sitting in the harbor was a nice bonus as well! Hi-Res links:,"
Weston Szpondowski:Was there ever more furnaces in that row?
Rob Ert: Weston Szpondowski there was at one time 13 blast furnaces at Gary Works

Keith Stelter posted, cropped
Summertime Lake Michigan view from the #14 blast furnace at USS Gary Works.
To those asking, I'm guessing it was about 2013. I was just going through old pics.
[According to some comments, #13 is now #14.]

Fred Schneck posted
Gary 13 [actually, #8] blew its top and launched it into Lake Michigan in 1995.
Christopher Huber: Umm... that would be 8 blast furnace. I was out here on midnights when it blew...
John Ray Maneno: Christopher Huber that's what I thought 13 was the mistake on the lake.
Bob Clementi: Christopher Huber yes it was no 8. A year later 13 had a burn through.
No 8 was may of 95 I think.
Ed Boncela: Christopher Huber that’s why they welded ribs to all the oven tops.
Robert Fickle: That was #8 and it was a myth that the top landed in the lake. The top actually landed on the hi-line tracks, I was there on the first contractor call out and put eyes on it.
John Fiala: I heard that The EJ&E hi-line engine crew had to go back to the Subway to change underwear after this!
Michael Kane: Just thinking who had a camera just laying around back then.
Christopher Richard: how did it happen?
David Freedom: Christopher Richard hydrogen explosion or overpressure explosion from a burden slip as I recall.
Roger Maull: Those wheels up there had the date 1918 I believe.

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)

Tom Cera posted two photos with the comment: "Typical high production hot strip mill - circa 1998."
Floridabeachvacations: Yes sir that’s the 84 hot strip. Gary works west side.
R Jim Echlin: Started my career with Blaw Knox in the early 1960’s as the Gary 84” HSM was being built. Amazing piece of machinery. The housings for this mill were massive steel castings, with rough weights of 365,000 pounds each. That mill is still one of the best after going on over 55 years old.
John Clifford: We were setting world production records on that mill around that time. I’m sure most still stand. We had excellent crews. 
Jim Schenher: It was a glorious time. 6M tons.
Mi Sign: Jim Schenher hey and dont forget all the garbage coils that came down the pipe every record was a lot of scale slivers pinholes roughing Mark's


John Dobry: Is it still open?
Lou Myers: John Dobry I hired into Fab D back in 1996, it’s still open but very few guys in there. Half dozen at most.
John Dobry: Lou Myers looks like everybody left after Dan Holland left.


  1. A great place to work with good health benefits and pension. I retired from Personal Services dept. In 1996.

  2. My family and friends worked at the USS Tubing Specialties Plant when it closed in 1984. Does anyone have pictures of the plant?