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(Satellite, it looks like Sparrows Point is another town that is just industry so that they don't have to support schools, a library, etc. with property tax)
The shipyards have their own notes.
Bill Baker posted
Matt Wilks: I did some engineering projects in this plant. Caster upgrades, new cold mill, new air plant and the new waster water treatment plant. A bunch of guys from Johnstown finished their career here after Johnstown closed in 92.
Bill Baker: Matt Wilks a lot went back home to Johnstown when we closed and a lot stayed in Maryland.
Bill Baker: Looking at this picture is why we thought we would never shut down , we had road, rail , and the only plant in America that had direct shipping to the ocean. But we were wrong.
Brian Olson: Bill Baker US Steel Fairless also had an ocean ore port.
Bill Baker: L furnace was at a time the biggest furnace in America and I think the world. But being the biggest didn’t mean much.
Bill Hill: In 1958 they installed a big open hearth extension that boosted capacity to 8.1 million tons. A huge mistake by Homer, Cort, and others. My grandfather had proposed installing a BOF instead but they were not visionary’s and he was outvoted.
It was management of the moment. The good times will continue. My grandpa was a VP of Operations overseeing all the plants and subsequently revolted in 1958 and left for National where he was able to guide the strategic decisions and capital programs. National was the most profitable company in the 69s and early 70s. They installed all the technology that Bethlehem was so late on. And yet one of Bethlehem’s greatest achievements was Burns Harbor so they did a few things right, but still built a slabbing mill there at the outset instead of a caster.
Merrill Paden posted
Layout of Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Plant
Brian Olson: I have to believe that if Bethlehem had installed a wide hot strip mill in the late 1970s instead of that blast furnace then Sparrows Point might still be running. Being narrow put it in the crosshairs of minimills.
Bill Hill: In 1958 with the open hearth expansion it was the largest in the world at 8.1 million tons.
[BF L was 11,000 tons per day and Inland Steel #7 was 10,000. But Sparrows Point needed a third BOF and caster to handle the output of L. That is why upgrading their existing BFs and installing a wider rolling mill would have been an upgrade that might have saved them.]
Gary Gaines: It also had the newest continuous slab caster in North America. Sold in bankruptcy to USS and now in Granite City, IL.
[Nucor bought the cold mill.]
Brian Olson: The 68" hot mill reversing rougher mill housings are at Whemco in West Homestead. The windows were machined square then they applied a fresh coat of paint. The mill housing were originally supplied by SMS but are now being modified by Primetals for Ahmsa in Mexico.
Bill Gailey posted two photos with the comment: "Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Maryland."[The photos are small not because they are repeats but because this was the original size.]
Guy Burger posted
My framed docking map of Sparrows Point Bethlehem Steel Plant, spent most of my professional life at this Plant, miss it so much!
Pat McCon: It’s a shame. Not sure why Mittal thought the plant was surplus. Seemed to be well- located.
James Torgeson: Pat McCon Mittal had no choice in the matter, as it was ordered by the DOJ to maintain competion.
Merrill Paden: Pat McCon Because Sp Pt made tin, Mittal had a majority on tin production which could allow them to manipulate pricing.
Bill Gailey posted six photos with the comment: "Aerial views of Sparrows Point, L furnace could produce 8000 tons a day. Hard to believe its all gone now!5000 acre site at Sparrows Point. L furnace was built to replace 4 smaller furnaces in 1978."John D WilliamsNow it will be a facility that will produce wind turbines...Unionized from day 1.https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/former-sparrows-point.../Bill HillPretty sure her capacity was 10,000 tons per day. She was much bigger than C & D at Burns Harbor and they each could turn out 7500 per day.Bill GaileyAuthorBill Hill You may be right, When I worked there they said 8000?Robert John DavisIf Sparrows Point interests you, there is a wonderful podcast awaiting your ears: https://open.spotify.com/show/08OHqSxBAs59k3aGSS8I4R...Brian OlsonI started my career at Sparrows Point. I was told that L blast furnace was capable of producing a lot more than it did. I saw a drawing that showed plans to install a third slab caster. I guess the idea was to push casting capacity from 3 million tons to 4.5 million tons and better utilize the capacity of L.Brian OlsonBill Gailey I have a hard time believe a two vessel 300 ton Bof shop could produce anything more than 4 million which is what Sparrows Point bof shop was producing when I left. I am guessing they would of had to install that third bof vessel to get the 4.5 million they wanted to produce.
Bill Gaily posted three photos with the comment: "Sparrows Point."
Bill Gailey posted five photos with the comment: "Sparrows Point, L furnace & BOF ladle area"
Merrill Paden posted
Entrance into Bethlehem’s Sparrows Point plant with ‘L’ furnace.
Bill DuFault: '99 reiline.
Brian Olson: I have to believe that if Bethlehem Steel had installed a wide 80" plus and powerful hot strip mill in the late 1970s instead of L blast furnace then Sparrows Point would probably still be running. Think about it. Mon Valley is still running despite having blast furnaces from the 1930s and 1940s. They only reason Mon Valley Work is running is because they have a wide finish end that distances them from the minimills. That is for the time being anyways.
John Moylan posted
The BOF scrubber at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point plant around 2001.
Mark Goodrich: How many vessels in that BOF?
Jimmy Orr: Mark Goodrich 2
John Moylan: #2 scrubber was idling in this picture as it was believed only 3 scrubbers were needed to provide sufficient draft over the vessels, with a reduced set point. Idling a 2500HP scrubber savings was calculated to be nearly a $ million a year.
Peter Hess: Heard that each Venturi scrubber runs at 60 inches [of water] delta “P”. That’s lots of energy. The General Motors central foundry in Defiance Ohio used those when they operated 60 t/h cupolas.
Randal McVaney: 5000 hp fans and 2500hp water pumps were the norm 190 tons / heat BOF units.
John Moylan: Randal McVaney they put in 5000hp fans sometime around 2006-2007 at sparrows point. Before that were 2500hp but synchronous Motors so they threw vars back into the system.
John Aston: We had 4 -8000 hp fans at the Sinter plant the shafts on the impellers were 12” . The ground shook when they were out of balance very unnerving.
Peter Hess: In my opinion, better to have a scrubber than a bag-house filter. Heat, CO combustion. Breaking bags, etc. Water usage is high, but more reliable with less maintenance.
John Maylan posted four images with the comment: "Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point plant: Remembering the BOF slag tap cam. The pictures show the difference between slag and liquid steel at long IR waves so you knew when to drop the dart and not let slag thru. Also the tap hole."Steve Herrmann: We still use darts at the old inland plant. But the dart machine is automated.Danny Salisbury: If you had a sharp eye and a correctly maintained tap hole diameter you could pretty much tap a heat slag free. Was a combination of a good tap hole maintenance program and sheer talent by whoever was at the controls. Will say some people just never got the hang of it and needed a ball dropper or dart dropper for sure ????. I would have liked to experience taping at heat on both a BOF and an EAF with a slide gate. I was out of the steel industry before I got to experience it. Will say slide gates were a huge improvement over stopper rods on our steel ladles when I was at Mclouth Steel.John Gregory Pittman: We used the darts at Stelco Hamiltion BOF and one of my helpers refused to put the lid on the ladle after tap so didn’t rock the dart out he soon learned to put the lid on so he didn’t need to burn the dart out.
Richard Allison posted
I sure do miss this star on top of L Furnace at Sparrow's Point, former 2nd largest and modern blast furnace in North America.It is hard to believe they destroyed on of our best blast furnaces.Merry Christmas to current and past steelworkers and we hope for a better year and decade ahead.
Raymond Boothe: The L blast furnace was way too large for the existing Sparrows Point facility. With only a two vessel oxygen steel facility, the downsizing of the products produced at the plant caused a lot of the tonnage of iron produced to be sent to the Chicago area as pig iron to be sold on the open market. They would have been better off rebuilding two of the two existing blast furnaces with one of the two held in reserve.
Raymond Boothe posted
Bethlehem Steel Corporation: Builders photo of the Bethlehem L blast furnace (Beth photo/Dr. Raymond Boothe collection).
Donald Dobbs posted
Skin mill at Sparrows Point (Tin Mill) around 1994 during an open house. Mill is running. That’s me kneeling down to talk to a little kid about making tin plate. Where are the safety fences! LOL, different times. Wish I had more photos from Sparrows Point, maybe someone in the group remembers this little rolling mill.
Eric Belcher: Nice old 4-hi mill. Too bad the kids didn’t get to see a mill cobble, that would have been fun!
Donald Dobbs: Funny, but I don’t ever remember a cobble on that mill. I’m sure we had them, but it was rare. The double reducing mill a little further down the shop, on the other hand...
Michael Matisko: Mesta Machine Company West Homestead, PA
John Moylan posted
Sparrows Point BOF Scrubber labeled. #4 scrubber wouldn’t fit...that's what she said. I took this picture for a training presentation. Spent many hours walking up and down the steps to rod taps and calibrate transmitters.
Joe Dolan: Facility was originally built with three scrubbers. The fourth scrubber was added years later for compliance with more stringent emissions limits.
John Moylan: #1 and #4 separator is not in the picture.
John Moylan posted three photos with the comment: "Scary Sparrows Point BOF scubber Venturi house throat damper mechanism prior to the upgrade in 2007 or so. The valve allowed Water to the Venturi nozzles. The water was recycled so caused blockages in the nozzles. Some had to be drilled clear. The pneumatic positioner can be seen in the one picture. I miss pneumatics..."John Moylan: I was an instrument technician (fuel man) so the entire BOF and scrubber instrumentation and controls were maintained by a group of 5 of us. Calibration and maintenance daily. Was not a clean system.The system running full out could move and clean up to 1 million scfm of gases. The draft during an oxygen blow was 6” water above the vessel.[Some of the comments discuss water treatment.]
John Moylan posted
Sparrows point Bethlehem steel scrubber transmitters. At the top of the scrubber Taps would get plugged and need to be rodded 3-4 times a week. Throat DP, Fansuction, and separator DP prior to later upgrade around 2007. But new transmitters still had plugging issues and freezing issues during the winter months.
[Some comments discuss "heat trace lines." I gather they helped mitigate freezing issues.]
John Moylan: If there was a problem with Instrumentation or controls we were told to stay until it was fixed or working.
John Moylan posted
Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point plant early 2000’s. Loved watching these guys creep along and sometimes spilling slag. Would happen when the bowl was overfilled. It was especially a sight to see when they rolled along with tires on fire. Slag bowl carrier with a full slag bowl on its way to be cooled, broken, sorted, and sold for a number of uses.
Dave Detre: Not good on rainy days..we used to throw lumber… pallets…tires etc. into slag pots from the second floor of the BOF when the slag was really hot and thin it would help shrink it down.
Randal McVaney: Slag aways were bad dudes, had one blow a tire and blew all windows out of my car parked 50 ft away from roadway. Thank God no one was in car.
John Groves' post and its comments provide information on books about Sparrows Point and Bethlehem in general.
NPR Podcast7 photos of its last daysVideo of the energetic felling of the L Blast Furnace (skip to 0:20)
These notes are still raw but I have accumulated enough information above that they are worth publishing.
paycount! https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-08-15/amazon-under-armour-and-fedex-set-up-shop-in-an-industrial-graveyardSparrows Point has been transformed into Tradepoint Atlantic. Amazon.com Inc. and Under Armour Inc.—the sports clothier run by Baltimore booster Kevin Plank—have leased almost 2.5 million square feet of warehouse space between them. Other tenants include FedEx, Volkswagen, and Harley-Davidson. Officials at Tradepoint are projecting that private investment will reach $2 billion by the time the operation is at full development in 2025. check: https://dldreference.blogspot.com/2017/06/steel2.html
Blast Furnaces A-D, 1893, surveyors arrived in 1887
Construction of furnaces A+B, 1888
An album of 116 photosRichard AllisonI remember going to work in the refractory business in 1978 and the company I worked for made anhydrous taphole mixes and blast furnace trough refractories. We also did refractory construction. My company sent me all over the US to conduct taphole trials in as many steel plants as possible. In 1978, L Furnace was blown in at Bethlehem-Sparrows Point, MD and she was a colossal, modern ironmaking machine. The first time I was there she was not quite finished and L Furnace was a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility. The casthouse was huge and new paving brick everywhere and new air drills and pneumatic mudguns for the taphole clay. I got to return to L Furnace for a taphole trial for about a week and she was making nearly 9,000 tons per day and going up. I think the wind volume was 250,000 cfm. After spending a week there with a successful trial, I was presented with a yellow L Furnace sticker for my helmet. I enjoyed showing off my helmet at all the other plants I visited. At the time, we had BIG blast furnaces going in 1978. Madeline No.7 was going at Inland Steel-Indiana Harbor, L Furnace Bethlehem Steel-Sparrows Point, Gary No. 13 USS-Gary Works and No.8 Blast Furnace USS-Fairfield Works. I had worked at all of these furnaces on their casthouses. My base of working was in Birmingham, Alabama. At that time there were over 120 blast furnaces going in the US. Now, I estimate there are 17 with at least three of these banked. I sure miss these old giant furnaces because only two of those large and most modern in the US are gone forever. Only Gary 13/14 at USS-Gary and No. 7 at Indiana Harbor ArcelorMittal have survived.Kroozin JimRichard Allison I worked on L Fce for 37 years until we close June 8, 2012 was the last cast. Sad day for Bethlehem Steel. The beginning of the end. The beast from the East no more.Richard AllisonThe first time I was at Sparrow's point was in or around 1977 when some of the line blast furnaces were still going. I never saw so many in a row. L Furnace made the rest of them look like toys.... I think Bethlehem-Sparrows Point was the biggest steel mill anywhere. Sparrow's Point was bigger than Inland Steel-Indiana Harbor and USS-Gary. Back in the 1980s, I think I was in every steel mill in the country except for about three or four and I was amazed at the size of Sparrow's Point. It is a shame Sevestal and ArcelorMittal got ownership of the plant. Maybe a different owner could have saved some of it but now the plant is a memory.Corey WilliamsAuthorRichard Allison, yeah mate, it was definitely a huge mill, nothing left there now. Like you said on your previous comment that they removed a whole neighbourhood so that they could build L Furnace. Even the openharth furnaces were huge, three hundred tons each. I can't remember how many they had.Richard AllisonI don't remember everything either but the Sparrow's Point Steel Mill was a city in itself. I have seen the point and you cannot believe a huge steel mill and shipbuilding plant was ever there. I do remember after they blew in L Furnace, Bethlehem had plans to build another furnace like it somewhere but those plans will never be used. So sad. The same with No.8 Blast Furnace at USS-Fairfield Works was built the same year as L Furnace and to be imploded as two of the most modern blast furnaces in the US. With only 17 operational blast furnaces left, all but three or four are World War II vintage but two bfs that were demolished were two of our most modern.
Steve Pomeroy commented on an existing integrated steel mill history post: "I was at the Sparrows Point Plant when we were sold off to Severstall Steel. Since Mittal bought Arcelor and were heavy in Tin plate, they wanted to sell the plant in Canada. Well unbeknownst to Mittal an unbinding agreement was made that they couldn't be sold. This meant they would have a monopoly on tin and the government didn't want that. So they had to sell . Us or the plant in West Virginia. Senator Byrd said his plant wouldn't last 5 years but SP could. Well as usual politics rules. We were sold. Then sold again and now there is no steel mill on site or that there was one."
I captured this satellite image because it shows where Amazon and Under Armour are building on brownland.
"McCormick & Company Incorporated, a global leader in flavor, seasonings and spices, will locate its 1.8 million square foot Northeast Distribution Center at Tradepoint Atlantic Industrial Park in Sparrows Point, Maryland." [AreaDevelopment]
I noticed the shipyard is intact, but there are no ships. "Officials at Tradepoint are also looking to rehabilitate the shipyard on the premises, which has been little used since the turn of the century. The massive dry dock can still accommodate ships, and they’re hoping to bring in a tenant who’ll use it to repair and refit navy boats. 'We’d love to have a big manufacturer here,' says Tomarchio, the spokesman, but 'we have to be realistic about what kind of industry is going to be coming here.'" [Bloomberg]
safe_image for This former steel mill used to employ thousands—how the site is adapting and creating jobs now
[They mentioned that you can send your kids to college with a steel mill job. Can you do that with a warehouse distribution or a greenhouse worker job? A spokesperson carefully avoided saying no to that question. But the reporters provided numbers that imply you can't say yes. And the numbers were just wages, benefits were not discussed. 10,000 people are now employed. So far they have invested $70m to clean up the pollution and $2b has been invested to develop 60% of the site.]
safe_image for Baltimore Museum of Industry to open Bethlehem Steel exhibition Sept. 24
"This 1978 aerial photo shows an with L blast furnace at the former Bethlehem Steel mill in Sparrows Point. An exhibition about Bethlehem Steel will open Sept. 24 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Photo courtesy of Baltimore Museum of Industry."
Richard Allison: Sparrows Point was probably bigger than Burns Harbor or Inland Steel. I was on L Furnace when it was lit and stayed a week. Most of the line furnaces were still standing. I wish I had a picture going down the avenue with all those furnaces standing proud but cold except for maybe Furnaces J and K. Furnace I maybe was running but I am not sure. I think Bethlehem shut all the line furnaces down when L was finally making good iron. L was magnificent when she was new but a blow in sure does make a mess.... I think that was in either 1979 or 1980.
Steel Plant Museum of Western New York: Richard Allison Bethlehem Sparrows Point and USS Gary were the largest plants by far. Gary remains the largest in the USA to this day, by a substantial margin. Cliffs Indiana Harbor is second, and Cliffs Burns Harbor is third.
James Torgeson: Richard Allison For reference. the published annual steel capacities are: Gary 7.5 million tons, Indiana Harbor 5.5., and Burns Harbor 5.0.
This article first appeared on towns-and-nature.blogspot.com
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