City of Steel: How Pittsburgh Became the World's Steelmaking Capital during the Carnegie Era (Hardback)
  • City of Steel: How Pittsburgh Became the World's Steelmaking Capital during the Carnegie Era (Hardback)
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City of Steel: How Pittsburgh Became the World's Steelmaking Capital during the Carnegie Era (Hardback)

(author), (foreword)
£32.95
Hardback 316 Pages / Published: 26/03/2015
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Despite being geographically cut off from large trade centers and important natural resources, Pittsburgh transformed itself into the most formidable steel-making center in the world. Beginning in the 1870s, under the engineering genius of magnates such as Andrew Carnegie, steel-makers capitalized on western Pennsylvania's rich supply of high-quality coal and powerful rivers to create an efficient industry unparalleled throughout history. In City of Steel, Ken Kobus explores the evolution of the steel industry to celebrate the innovation and technology that created and sustained Pittsburgh's steel boom. Focusing on the Carnegie Steel Company's success as leader of the region's steel-makers, Kobus goes inside the science of steel-making to investigate the technological advancements that fueled the industry's success. City of Steel showcases how through ingenuity and determination Pittsburgh's steel-makers transformed western Pennsylvania and forever changed the face of American industry and business.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442231344
Number of pages: 316
Weight: 617 g
Dimensions: 238 x 159 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Well known as the 'Steel City,' Pittsburgh has long been recognized as the epitome of labor and capital power, highlighted from the mid-19th century through much of the 20th century. Kobus, who worked in the steel industry for over 40 years, adds to this long history by showing how the western Pennsylvania region became a center of economic power and why it was utilized over other, perhaps better-suited, areas for commercial activity. Tracing the narrative thematically over four parts and eight chapters, Kobus explains how Pittsburgh entered the metals industry and how it became the world-renowned center of steel production, commanding a large percentage of global export. Underlying this narrative of Pittsburgh steel production is a transnational story of how immigrant peoples and mostly English ideas of production combined at the city's three rivers. Overall, Kobus's narrative is very much a tale of economic history. The company histories and discussions of business owners that fill the pages of Kobus's account all receive convincing treatment alongside the technological processes and business plans (accompanied by excellent graphs) developed during this industry era. Readers will gain deep insight into and understanding of the complex processes by which natural resources were worked into steel. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals and practitioners; general readers. * CHOICE *
Kenneth J. Kobus's City of Steel is a straightforward, chronological examination of how the ferrous metals industry in Pittsburgh came to dominate not only the regional economy of western Pennsylvania, but also the national and international iron and steel market. An essential premise of the work is that Pittsburgh appears only in hindsight to be the natural capital of steelmaking in America. Kobus reminds us that many other steel centers, including those in Chicago and throughout Ohio, had ready access to coal, as did Pittsburgh firms, and were even closer to the major iron ore-producing region of the Upper Midwest. If Pittsburgh enjoyed no special geographic advantage, asks Kobus, why did it dominate the field? The author highlights two factors in the story of Pittsburgh steel: technology and the man who most effectively employed that technology, Andrew Carnegie.... [R]eaders interested in the social history of the Pittsburgh region will profit from the insights they gain by reading a narrow technical history of steelmaking and, according to Kobus, the one man-Carnegie-who most shaped the world of the mills and the world that sat in the shadow of the mills. * Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies *
Kenneth J. Kobus's book is a welcome addition to the literature of the iron and steel revolution, restoring that history to its proper importance.... His discussion of the wrought iron puddling process and crucible steelmaking is clear and concise, accompanied by excellent photographs and illustrations. His treatment of a blast furnace pig iron production and the development of fuels and transportation is also quite accessible... The author does an excellent job of tying the narrative together in his final chapter, demonstrating the scope and significance of the iron and steel industry's transformation. * Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography *
Few authors, if any, have tackled the detail behind the engineering genius of Andrew Carnegie's steel empire the way Kenneth Kobus has done. City of Steel crosses the threshold of a whole new realm and is written with the astute knowledge and technical expertise by a self-taught former steelworker. Kobus' book is brilliant and leaves no doubt about Carnegie's reign as the king of steel or Pittsburgh's role as the center of the steel industry. -- August R. Carlino, president and CEO, Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation
Steelmaking is one of the great sources of wealth creation where nearby natural resources are processed into everyday essential tools. Kenneth Kobus has ably told of the Pittsburgh steel men who pioneered this product and made America a much stronger nation. -- Robert E. Ross, retired division manager, LTV Steel Corp., Cleveland Works, Pittsburgh Works, Warren Works
Kenneth Kobus knows how steel was made and, more importantly, why it was made. City of Steel lucidly describes sophisticated technical innovations so the reader understands why they were necessary and what processes and which men guided them to fruition. Kobus's descriptions of early work conditions in the mills are harrowing, but make clear how Pittsburgh made us Americans who we are. -- Donald McCaig, award-winning author of Jacob's Ladder and Canaan
Kenneth Kobus describes in detail how the collective innovations and competitive drive of Carnegie, Frick, Thompson, Jones, and others yielded unparalleled advancements in steelmaking technology that spearheaded the industrial revolution. More than just a technical retrospective, City of Steel provides unique insight to the inventive and managerial genius that ultimately led to the city's rise to global steel dominance. -- Ronald E. Ashburn, executive director, Association for Iron & Steel Technology

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