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National Tube Works -- McKeesport, Pa.
Chronology of Technological Developments, 1868-1955

1868 John H. and Harvey K. Flagler started making welded iron tubular products in East Boston, Massachusetts.
1870 Flagler Brother purchased the works of Fulton, Bolman Company of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, which was shortly to be reorganized and incorporated under the name of National Tube Works.
1872 In April, ground was broken for the new butt weld mill.  By September 13, the first of 4 planned lap weld furnaces was put into operation making 2" tubing.  The lap weld building was 160 feet wide and 360 feet long.
1873 Radical departure in bending together with a new idea of scarfing the plates enabled National to make pipe up to 15" O.D. and 20 foot lengths = the largest pipe made anywhere at that time.

In April, fire destroyed the entire lap weld mill.  Rebuilt and back in operation by the end of the year.

1874 An old-style butt weld mill was built having 2 tong-welding furnaces and 1 bending furnace.
1876 Fire destroys the butt weld mill which is rebuilt immediately haveing 3 butt weld and 1 bending furnaces.

A new method was incorporated in this mill called "Tag and Bell" which sharply increased production; was used only experimentally before in England.

1878-79 The owners of National Tube Works organized an independent allied company, the National Rolling Mills Company, which operated four rolling mills, adjacent to National Works, to produce their skelp.
1880-81 No. 5 and No. 6 lap weld furnaces were built.  This increased output 50%.
1886-87 a.  The company erected a 400 sq. ft. building, equipped with six Siemens butt welding furnaces and the most improved machinery for threading and testing.

b.  No. 7 and No. 8 lap weld furnaces were built, due to increased demand for pipe by natural gas coming to the forefront.

c.  National Tube Works was the first to make butt weld in 1 heating.

d.  National Tube Works also invented the first charging machines for charging plates into the bending furnaces.

1889 Monongahela Furnace Company constructed two blast furnaces on property adjacent to National Rolling Mills Company, which was later to become the nucleus of the present steel works.
1890 No. 9 and No. 10 lap weld furnaces were built, and the number of butt weld furnaces was increased to 7 at this time. The movable draw bench was invented by the Chief Engineer of this plant causing a great increase in production.
1891 a.  Owners of the National Tube Works, who were also the owners and financial interest behind the Monongahela Furnace Company, Boston Iron and Steel Company., the Republic Iron Works (South Side, Pittsburgh) and the National Rolling Mills Company, consolidated under the name of National Tube Works Company, their capitalization being $11,500,000 as compared to $3,000,000 of National Tube Works.

b.  The company switched from coal fired skelp bending furnaces to regenerative gas furnaces of which there were over 30 throughout the plant.

1892-93 As a a result of the success of experimentation in this country, and Europe during the 1880's, with the utilization of steel as a material for making pipe, the Bessemer Converters and the Steel Rolling Mills were built in the Steel Works area. This put an end to the old puddling furnaces and iron rolling mills - National Rolling Mills Company ceased to exist.

a.  The 11th Lap Weld Furnace was built. It was the first furnace with electric motors to operate the welding rolls. The rolls of all previous furnaces were operated by shafting and jack shafting from underneath.

b. The back charge process for making butt weld pipe was invented and in connection with the movable draw bench, served to boost the works output of butt weld pipe.

1897 No. 2 Lap Weld furnace was remodeled to make 30" pipe.
1899 The National Tube Company was formed from a combination of the majority of the pipe and tube mills in the country, 16 in all.
1901 March 3, under the laws of New Jersey the United States Steel Corporation is organized, the National Tube Company being a part of this organization. The new concern controlled,, under a single management, roughly three-fifths of the steel business of the entire country and had a capitalization which at par reached the unprecedented figure of $1,402.,846,817.
1907 The Main Pipe Mill building, 560 feet in width and 1548 feet in length, was built with a pipe yard and open crane runway measuring 56 feet in width and 936 feet in length. Twenty gas producers were built for lap and butt weld mills.
1908 Six new Butt Weld Hills built in Main Pipe Kill Building, capable of making pipe from 1/8" to 3" in maximum lengths in some sizes of 22 feet and in other sizes of 41 feet.
1908 Twelve modern, motorized Lap Weld Mills are built in the new Main Pipe Mill building, with ranges of pipe from 4", to 24" O.D. and in lengths varying from 22 feet to 42 feet. At the time these 12 Lap Weld Mills were completed all of the old original 7 bending Butt Weld and 11 Lap Weld furnaces were dismantled to provide room for new shop buildings.
1930 a.  The addition of billet storage to the Main Pipe Hill building, measuring 85 feet in width and 720 feet in length was made.

b.  The addition of the No. 1 and No. 2 Seamless Hot Mills capable of manufacturing seamless pipe ranging from 3-1/4" O.D. to 24" O.D. with maximum lengths of 48 feet.

c.  The new converting mills, consisting of three 25-ton converters, was built.

d.  The old gas producers were dismantled and replaced by a main line 5792 feet long extending from Duquesne Bridge to the northwest corner of the Main Pipe Mill building to carry coke oven gas from Clairton Works. This piping consisted of:
36" diameter pipe (520 feet), 30" diameter pipe (4394 feet),  24" diameter pipe (487 feet), and 20" diameter pipe (391 feet).

1931 The new Open Hearth, equipped with 3 - 200 ton tilting type furnaces, was built increasing the capacities for steel making.
1937 No. 3 butt mill was scrapped.
1940 No. 1 lap mill was scrapped. By this-time all 12 lap weld mills had been dismantled and replaced by Seamless operations.
1944-45 Now warm work unit was installed in the Pipe Mill. This Installation increased the production of deep well casing from Bessemer steel.
1946 No. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 butt mills were dismantled.
1949 The Blast Furnace department was provided with a sintering plant of 500-ton per day rated capacity.
1950 a.  The new Electric Weld Mill was built for manufacturing 26" to 36" O.D. electric welded and expanded steel pipe with wall thickness 1/4" to 1/2" in 40 foot lengths.

b.  The new Central Boiler House was put into operation. The building was 187 feet long, 127 feet wide and 87 feet high. The building houses 5 boilers, each designed to generate 175,000 pounds of steam per hour and 850 psi gage at 750 degrees F. in the super heater outlet. The boilers may be fired with blast furnace gas or pulverized coal alone or in combination. Coke oven gas is used for boiler ignition.

1954 a.  The No. 1 Blooming Mill was rebuilt in 1954. It provided a new modern two high reversing mill replacing old and worn mill.

b.  The two new turbo-blowers were installed in the blast furnace blowing room and are designed to deliver 90,000 cfm of air at 25 lbs. pressure to assure adequate blowing capacity for sustained 4 blast furnace operation. The turbine end of these blowers operate on steam at 850 lbs. pressure and 750 degrees F., and exhaust at 150 lbs. pressure into the existing plant steam system.

c.  We acquired approximately 5-1/2 acres of storage and shipping space from the Wood Works plant of the Irwin Works, of the United States Steel Corporation, which neighbors our plant on the west end.

1955 a.  The new peeler machine was built locally in the west end of the 13" Mill building, and put in operation in May, 1955.

b.  In order to maintain a lead position in the competitive market for deep well casing, authorization was given for the installation of facilities for increased production of high yield casing at National Works. Scheduled for completion in late '55 or early '56.