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A Brief History of American Steel in the 19th Century

Metals such as steel were being used previously to make tools, bridges and buildings because of their strength. The production of steel also has a rich history especially in America. The production of steel in the United States is what streamlined the same in other countries in terms of technology.

In the 1800s, the US had already advanced from charcoal to coke in the ore smelting. The miners here had also adopted the Bessemer process. This is what made sure that there was an increase in large integrated steel mines.

The history of mining steel is very rich and there is a lot more to expect. Over the years, steel mining has exhibited remarkable technological dynamism and entrepreneurship that has significantly helped it grow to what we have today.

History of American Steel

The most impact was felt during the revalorization and the economic support that they encountered. However, many of the western countries today don’t dominate the market because of the competition and the diffusion of technology around the world.

The Rise of the Industry

The rise in the mining industry cannot be detached from the second Industrial revolution that took place in the 19th century. This is what scaled the production from small and simple batch production to new technologies. Although the technology of Bessemer was not born in the United States, it helped greatly in the mining industry in the same country.

By this time, England was the king of all production but the technology and all the other aspects of mining diffused to the United States. In the 1890s, that is when the depression consolidated the American industry for good. There were also many mergers that contributed to the same efforts.

The world’s largest company was formed at this time and also the scale of production increased drastically. The introduction of blast furnaces to melt the iron ore was brought into book in the early 20th century.

What dictated the geographical location of mills was the availability of ores and coal. The two were regarded as the major production inputs. In the US, there were some coal fields that attracted a lot of mining and work in the mid-1800s. Coal was already very available in Alabama, Birmingham and Minnesota. This is actually what influenced the location of these mills over time.

Government Intervention

The industry was characterized by constant strikes due to conflicts on wages, working conditions and working hours. What this means is that the government had to intervene by setting policies and shifts in the Industry.

One of the most common phenomena was the Homestead strike of 1892 in Pennsylvania. This strike sparked the most heated debates about ways that the governments can intervene to reduce such instances in future.

By this time, Andrew Carnegie was using African Americans to bridge the crush with the craft union. This is when Amalgamated Association of Iron and steel workers fought the toughest war.

The movement was later in the 20th century named ‘’Red Scale’’ because they fought for their rights from time to time. This was the start of a better wage and growing usage or characteristic labor to make it a reality.

The Advancements in the Steel Industry

The early colonists didn’t have most of their attention in mining. They actually had special interests on food and shelter. As a matter of fact, they all needed a place to settle and farm. To facilitate this whole process, they had to find adequate tools for that purpose. They also wanted to have the strongest of all houses and bridges which led to the invention of mining at their disposal.

What this means is that the demand for these tools and construction materials were still on the rise. However, it was until the 19th century when they were able to produce steel and at last be able to make such tools.

The thing that made the whole process a reality is the existence of abundant iron ores in the area and at the same time the rich coals of the Pennsylvania. There was also availability of water and better transport. This is what actually made the whole process very easy. What this means is that the Northwest was the center of all mines.

There were also many documentaries featuring the importance of steel exposition. The civil wars in the US led to a great depression that affected every aspect of the economy. Though, after the end of that civil war, the mining expanded because of the nation’s economy growing to be the largest in the whole world.

The American steel mining increased from 1.25 million tons to about 10 million tons from 1880 to the turn of the century.

What Scaled the Steel Mining Industry in the US?

There were many reasons why the steel industry was booming in the US. First and foremost, we all know that there was availability of cheap labor and good roads to transport the end products. Here are some of the reasons.

  • Government intervention-The American Government was very concerned about the welfare of the miners and the expansion of mining sites. The government would also intervene whenever there are any issues to make it easy for the companies to operate.
  • Technology-America was the source of the most influential technologies in the mining sector. This was easy because scientists and experts always wanted to find cost effective ways of mining.
  • Good roads-The core transportation was very easy because they all invested in good roads. This contributed significantly to the cost of production which later translated into cheaper prices in the market.
  • Increased demand-The demand was very high both locally and internationally. This is actually what made it work perfectly for the companies.
  • Availability of cheap labor-The labor in the 19th century was cheaply available which was an added advantage also. The African Americans were the largest source of that labor. This means that the cost of production and transportation was very minimal which we all know is the price determining factor.

For more information on modern day steel products and production in the USA visit OnlineMetalsDepot today.

After working as digital marketing consultant for 4 years Deepak decided to leave and start his own Business. To know more about Deepak, find him on Facebook, LinkedIn now.


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