The Homestead Steel Works of Carnegie, Phipps & Co., Limited, are situated on the south bank of the Monongahela river, some nine miles above Pittsburgh, and on the immediate line of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston R. R., and the Pittsburgh, McKeesport and Youghiogheny R. R., the former being one of the Pennsylvania R. R. systems, and the latter one of the Vanderbilt R. R. systems. These two roads, with the river itself, afford exceptionally good opportunities for the transportation of the finished products of the works to the markets. The property of the company comprises some 89 acres, of which the works proper occupy 42 acres of level ground, having a frontage of 3104 feet on the river. On the slope back of the works are the general offices, stables, the company's hotel (built and run for the benefit of the employes of the works), the residences of the various superintendents of departments, and further back on the slope the houses of many of the married men employed in the mills.
The plant originally consisted of a converting mill with two 5-ton vessels, a blooming mill, and a 23-inch rail mill, and was owned and operated by the Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Co. Under the management of this company the first heat was blown in the converters on March 19, 1881.
Carnegie, Phipps & Co., Limited, purchased the plant, and three years thereafter the rolling of rails was discontinued and the rail mill converted into a mill for rolling structural shapes, such as small I beams, channels, eye-bars, angles, and billets. In the meantime the 33-inch mill for rolling large sections of beams had been erected.
The 33-inch and 23-inch mills, housed in the same building, are at the extreme western side of the property, and have low grade standard gauge tracks on either side, for shipping purposes, in addition to a trestle-work at the east side, originally intended to bring fuel to the boilers (an arrangement which has been rendered unnecessary by the adoption of natural gas as a fuel throughout the entire works). In this connection it might be well to remark that although natural gas is the general fuel, all the furnaces, boilers, etc., throughout the entire plant, including those of the newer mills, of which we speak later on, are so arranged that in the event of the failure of, or a marked diminution in, the supply of natural gas, a return could be made with the least possible expenditure and delay to the old system of producers and the use of coal or coke at the boilers.
Such, however, are the advantages arising from the use of natural gas as a fuel, that in the event of any such contingency as the failure of the supply, large companies would doubtless erect works for the production of gas and pipe it through the old lines; or various works would put up water-gas plants of their own and continue to operate their furnaces and boilers as under the present system.
East of the 33-inch and 23-inch mills are the engine and boiler houses of the converting and blooming mills, and east of them are the mills themselves. The converting mill is completely surrounded by a trestle-work, on which the cars run to discharge in bins below the various grades of pig iron, scrap, etc., that are used as a charge in the vessels, after being melted down in the cupolas.
In the year 1887 the company added to the plant an open-hearth department, originally of four furnaces, and since increased to seven furnaces and a plate mill, and during the following year an armor plate mill was added.
The plate mill and open-hearth building lies east of the converting mill, and the armor mill is just beyond. A 10-inch mill, built in 1888, occupies a place near the 23-inch mill.
All these mills are set somewhat back from the river, and the ground close to the water front is occupied by a beam yard, certain of the shops, water works, and the laboratory.
The converting mill building is of brick, with an iron roof, and is 119 feet 8 inches long by 73 feet wide. The iron is melted in four cupolas, 24 feet high and 8 feet in diameter, and the spiegel in two cupolas 24 feet high by 6 feet in diameter. Metal is brought to these cupolas by two hydraulic hoists. The molten iron from the cupolas is carried by means of iron runners lined with refractory clay, into ladles of 5 tons capacity, which are then transferred by means of an 8-ton hydraulic crane.
The vessels (or converters) are two in number, and stand opposite each other at either side of the building, with their noses pointed outward. Their capacity is five tons, but as high as seven tons have been made at a single heat. The steel from the converters is poured into a five-ton ladle, held by an eight-ton hydraulic crane, by which it is swung to a semi-circular pit of 20 feet diameter, where it is poured into moulds. Three five-ton cranes transfer the ingots to cast-iron cars or buggies, which carry them to the other mills. Two five-ton hydraulic cranes are also employed to assist in changing the converter bottoms. The ladles are lined in a lean-to adjoining the converting mill, in which is also located a small reverbatory furnace for heating ferro-manganese. Bottoms for vessels are renewed in a special building, where are located two ovens for drying them. The capacity of this mill is 14,000 tons of special low carbon steel ingots per month.
Engine House.—The engine house is of brick, with an iron roof, and is 136 feet long by 38 feet 6 inches wide. Here are located two Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co.'s blowing engines, having a 3i-inch steam cylinder, 46-inch air cylinder by 36-inch stroke; one Southwark Foundry & Machine Co.'s blowing engine, with 56-inch steam cylinder, 80-inch air cylinder, and 48-inch stroke, which supplies blast to the converters at a pressure of 20 pounds per square inch; also an 18 X 24 horizontal engine operating four No.7 Baker blowers, which supply blast at a pressure of one pound per square inch to the cupolas. In a wing of the engine house are located three Worthington duplex steam pumps and two Epping & Carpenter pumps, supplying a hydraulic pressure of 5oo pounds per square inch for the converting and blooming mills.
Boiler House.—The boiler house is 300 by 51 feet, and is also of brick, with an iron roof. In it are located twenty boilers, in five sets of four each; each being 44 inches diameter and 24 feet long, fed by two pumps. These keep up a steam supply for converting and blooming mills of 115 pounds per square inch.
Mixing House.—The mixing is done in a brick building, 135 feet by 50 feet, by one Blake crusher, one Gates crusher, and two pug mills made by William Tod & Co., which are all operated by one 12-inch X 12-inch Gardner engine.
This mill connects with the converting mill, and is of brick, with an iron roof, 178 feet 6 inches X 73 feet. Ingots from the converting mill are delivered in buggies, in an upright position, and are transferred by hydraulic cranes to the soaking pits. There are three sets of these pits, and three pits to a set; one crane doing the work for each set. The reheated ingots are placed by a crane on tables which carry them to the mill proper. The rolling is done by a 28-inch reverse train driven by a pair of Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co.'s engines, 28-inch cylinder, 48-inch stroke, and running fifty revolutions per minute. After the steel has been reduced to the required size, it is delivered by tables to a vertical shearer and driven by an 18-inch X 24-inch engine, and capable of shearing too square inches. Here the steel is sheared to the desired length, and is then loaded on cars by means of a small hydraulic crane and distributed to other mills, or carried away for shipment. In connection with this mill there is a 7000-pound hammer, built by Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co., and which is used for special slabs and blooms. Heating for the hammer is done by a reverberatory furnace (Siemens type). Two five-ton cranes handle the material at hammer. The product of this mill is blooms, billets, and nail plate, and its capacity is 7800 tons per month.
The product of this mill is brought out in buggies and unloaded by means of hand cranes, when every piece is carefully inspected, and the piece is loaded on the cars and shipped away, or, if it is intended to be treated in the works, it is sent to the 23-inch or 10-inch mill to be rolled into shapes.
THE 23-INCH MILL AND 33-INCH MILL.
These two structural mills, which are employed to roll angles, eyebar flats, channels, and all I beams from 4 inches to 24 inches, are located in the same building, which is 602 feet long and 84 feet wide, and has three wings on one side and a lean-to on the other. All three wings are 8o feet in depth, the central one being 120 feet wide and the others each 68 feet.
This building, like those of the converting and blooming mills, is of brick, with iron roof, and these three buildings together form the original plant of the Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Co.
23-inch Mill.—This mill was, as we have previously stated, formerly used for the production of rails, but has been remodeled, and now rolls angles from 2 inches X 2 inches up to 6 inches X 6 inches; eye-bar flats from 8 inches x 2 inches down to 3 inches X 1 inch; channels from 4 inches to 15 inches; I-beams from 4 inches to 8 inches; and billets from 2 inches square to 3i inches square. It occupies the southern end of the above described building, facing southwards, and discharges its product through the south end of the mill, on extensive beds, where it is loaded on cars and shipped.
Blooms from the blooming mill are brought in buggies through the 68-foot wing, and charged into reverberatory reheating furnaces 15 feet X 17 feet, of which there are three. The roll train is three high and consists of three stands of rolls, roughing and finishing. The three stands are in a continuous line at right angles to the main axis of the building, and are run by one 42-inch x 48-inch Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co.'s engine. Tables carry the finished product of the mill from the last pass to a hot saw which removes the crop ends. Two hydraulic cranes are used for roll changing in this mill. At the lower end of the mill the finished shape is cooled on hot beds and finished as desired. For this purpose one crocodile shear with engine attached, two vertical angle shears, one horizontal straightening press, one friction saw running 2000 revolutions per minute for cold sawing, and one angle straightening machine are located in this part of the building. The monthly product of this mill amounts to 2500 tons, approximately.
33-inch Mill.—This mill, which is located at the north end of the 600-foot building, is employed to roll 9, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 24-inch I beams. Ingots from the converting mill are brought in buggies and charged in gas heating pits (six in number), whence, after heating, they are taken to the roughing rolls. The roll train is three high and consists of three stands of rolls, one for roughing and two for finishing, standing in a continuous line across the mill, and run by a 46-inch x 60-inch Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co.'s engine traveling 55 revolutions per minute.
The heated ingot is "cogged down" on the roughing train to what is known as a "shape," and is then carried by roller tables to an inverted shear operated by the ascent of the bottom knife, where it is sheared into lengths and afterwards conveyed in buggies back to the northern end of the mill, where reheating is effected in three reverberatory furnaces situated near the heating pits. The reheated shape is wheeled on an iron buggy to the finishing rolls where the beam is finished; carried thence by a table to a hot saw, which saws off the crop ends, and the finished beams are then drawn off sideways on long hot beds, where they are permitted to cool before being further handled. Ingots at the pits are handled by two 7-ton and two 4-ton hydraulic cranes. Ingots are drawn and placed on tables at roughing rolls by one Yale & Towne 5-ton locomotive crane, and roll changing is effected by two steam cranes. The capacity of this mill is about 3300 tons of finished beams per month.
Boilers and Pumps.—In the 120-foot wing of the main building are located the boilers which supply steam to the two mills. These are 24 in number, in six sets of four each, 44 inches diameter and 24 feet long, with three stacks too feet high. A steam pressure of 115 pounds is maintained. Here also are two Worthington duplex pressure pumps supplying the water pressure for the mills.
Store Room and Electric Light Plant.—In this wing also the store rooms are placed, as well as two 6o-light dynamos for supplying the electric lights throughout the yards and mills.
Beam Finishing Department.—Here the beams are taken from the hot bed to machines located in the lean-to spoken of, and straightened, coped, punched, drilled, or otherwise fitted as may be required. In order to finish the beams ready for commercial purposes, they are first sawed to the exact length by friction saws running at a speed of 2000 revolutions per minute. Four of these are situated about the yard, and each of them is run by a separate engine to do this work. For the purpose of coping, straightening, etc., the beam finishing department is further equipped with one slotting machine, one rotary milling machine, two 30-inch drill presses, one vertical coping machine, two vertical punching machines, two horizontal straightening presses for 6-inch to 20-inch beams, and one large horizontal straightening press for 24-inch beams.
This mill adjoins the 23-inch structural mill, and rolls small rounds, flats, and structural shapes.
The building is of iron and steel throughout, and is 180 feet long and 43 feet wide. The steel is heated in reverberatory furnaces of the Siemens type. These are located in the 68-foot wing of the 23-inch mill building, and the heated steel is carried thence by an overhead trolley to the rolls.
The rolls are in four stands, three high, and are driven by a Porter Allen 16 X 30 engine, running 180 revolutions per minute. The finished steel is delivered on hot straightening beds; cooled and sheared by a vertical shear driven by an engine attached.
Steam supply is obtained from the 33-inch and 23-inch mill boilers.
The product of this mill amounts to about 400 tons per month, running on day turn alone.
The open-hearth furnaces and the plate train and finishing machinery are housed in the same building. This is 967 feet long,, and is built entirely of iron and steel. The main building, containing open-hearth plant and the plate mill proper, is 501 feet long and 86 feet in the main span, with a 45-foot lean-to on each side. The inspecting and marking-out department is 273 feet X 43 feet, and the shearing department is 187 feet X 86.
The open-hearth furnaces are seven in number.
The furnaces all use natural gas as a fuel, the stacks being placed at the back, and checker-work in the flues preheating the air.
Charging is done from the general floor level. These furnaces are arranged in pairs, with casting pits between each pair. Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are opposite Nos. 7, 6 and 5 respectively.
Between the pairs of furnaces are the hydraulic ladle cranes, which are directly on the center line of the building, and on either side of the cranes are semi-circular pits, capable of taking four sets of moulds. Each pair of furnaces are attended at the pits by two seven-ton and two twenty-ton hydraulic cranes, which command the furnace itself, the casting and ladle pits, and the narrow-gauge tracks over which the ingot moulds are removed and the product of the furnace is carried to the mill.
At one end of the open-hearth department is a small steel foundry, with core room, etc., where special steel castings for use at the works are made.
The capacity of the open-hearth plant amounts to 10,000 tons of ingots per month.
THE SLABBING MILL.
The slabbing mill building is of steel and iron, 300 feet long and 120 feet wide, with a 35-foot lean-to for boilers.
Eight heating furnaces; vertical pits six feet in diameter and seven feet deep, with circular covers, are arranged in pairs in the northern end of the building. Two 35-ton hydraulic cranes, swung by rack and pinion, and fitted with a simple hydraulic tackle for gripping ingots, charge and draw these furnaces.
The slabbing train itself is a universal mill. The vertical rolls are of steel 2o inches in diameter, and are driven fifty revolutions per minute, by a pair of E. P. Allis 30-inch X 54-inch reversing engines running 100 revolutions per minute. And the horizontal rolls are 32 inches in diameter, and are driven by a pair of E. P. Allis 40 X 54 reversing engines. This train has already dealt with 48-inch X 48-inch ingots weighing 38,000 pounds, and is capable of taking a 25-ton ingot 48-inch X 54-inch and rolling to a section 10-inch X 3-inch. Tables carry the ingot from the roll train to the shear. Tables on both sides of the rolls are run by a pair of upright 10 x 12 Crane reversing engines, and the shear table by a pair of horizontal 8 x 10 Crane reversing engines.
The shear power is hydraulic and operates by the descent of the upper knife, with a pressure of 4000 pounds per square inch (given by two Southwark Foundry pressure-pumps, 65-inch steam cylinder, 10-inch water cylinder, and 8-foot stroke); the shear develops somewhat over 3000 tons power, and is capable of shearing a 48-inch X 24-inch section. A general pressure throughout the mill of 500 pounds per square inch is supplied by two Wilson & Snyder's duplex pumps.
In the lean-to are six batteries of four each, of boilers 44i inches diameter and 26 feet 6 inches long, supplying the steam pressure of 120 pounds.
Besides the two cranes for handling ingots at the pits, there are in the mill two 16-ton and seven 5-ton slab cranes.
Aside from the ponderous machinery of the roll train, and the great power and simplicity of design of the hydraulic shear, what is particularly striking about the mill are its admirable arrangement and shipping facilities, and the very small number of men required to run it. All slabs from this mill before being shipped away or sent to the plate mill are subjected to a thorough inspection. Capacity, 10,000 tons per month.
THE PLATE MILL.
Ingots were formerly roughed and finished in this mill, but are now roughed in the universal mill, to slabs, which are brought by small cars directly to the furnaces of the plate mill. Three heating furnaces, 25 feet by 6 feet 9 inches, are located on each side of the mill, charging and drawing being done by special hydraulic cranes, controlled by one man who is carried about on a seat suspended from the jib.
Reheated slabs are placed by these cranes on tables of live rollers which carry them to the mill. The mill is three high, the top and bottom roll being 119 inches long and 32 inches in diameter, and the middle roll 119 inches long and 22 inches in diameter, making 50 revolutions per minute. A 42 by 54 horizontal Mackintosh, Hemphill & Co. engine drives the roll train, and screwing down is done by the means of a small vertical engine, friction clutches and worm gearing.
From the rolls the finished plate comes slowly down a roller table 363 feet long and 5 feet it inches wide, driven by a line shaft and bevel gearing. An overhead traveling crane runs the full length of the table, so that the plate can be removed at any point, turned over for inspector on the lower side, or shifted to any part of the table or floor as may be desired. On this the plates are allowed to cool, air having free access below the rollers, and are inspected above and below, and stamped as to quality, dimensions, etc., and carefully laid out for shearing. The inspector examines stamping and marks and stamps test pieces. From the table, plates are rolled on casters to the shear. The casters are small rolls, supported on vertical shafts which are held in holes in the floor.
The shearing is done by three shears, each with a knife 135 inches long, and two with 36-inch knives, all built by Morgan Engineering Company.
The shipping department is supplied with sixteen cranes, which place the plates directly on cars on switches of the Pennsylvania R. R. system.
Steam power at too pounds pressure is applied by four batteries of four boilers each. Each boiler is 44 feet in diameter by 24 feet 4 inches long, with two 16-inch flues; draught being provided by two wrought-iron stacks 125 feet high. Two duplex Southwark Foundry pumps feed the boilers, and two Southwark Foundry and one Wilson, Snyder & Co. pressure pump with an 18-inch accumulator supply the hydraulic pressure of 500 pounds per square inch. This mill has rolled plates from 3 inches thick, 115 inches wide, down to 5/22 inch thick and 117 inches wide, any length, and can handle plates as high as six tons in weight.
Capacity, 3000 net tons per month.
In connection with the plate mill is a special set of rolls for bending plates and beams, capable of bending the largest plates that can be rolled in the mill.
SHOPS AND YARDS.
In one of the wings of the structural mill building are located the machine shops and roll-turning shop.
Machine Shop.—The machine shop is fitted with all tools necessary for renewing and repairing the various machinery and furnaces of the several mills. The equipment includes 6 lathes, 1 slotter, shaper and grindstone, 3 drill presses, 2 screw cutters, 1 boring mill, 1 planer; all driven by a 12 by 22 Hamilton engine.
In a separate building located near the 119-inch plate mill, in another part of the yard, is a 76-inch by 76-inch planer, with a 40-foot stroke. This is used for large castings and also for planing the edges of bridge plates. A special arrangement in connection with the planer admits of planing any length or width of plate that can be rolled in the mill.
In connection with the plate mill is a special machine shop, including 2 lathes, 2 shapers, i planer, x milling machine, 2 drill presses, and one wet grinding wheel for shear blades, besides a special planer for plates. In this shop the test pieces for the plate mill test room are prepared. In another shop where test pieces from the other mills are prepared are three small planers, one milling machine and one emery wheel. Roll-turning is done in a separate shop adjoining the machine shop, in four heavy lathes.
The blacksmith shop is located near the machine shop at one end of the structural mill, and consists of seven fires, supplied with a blast by a No. 8 Sturtevant fan; two steam hammers, and a small furnace to do the heating for the steam hammers. A pipe-fitting shop is also in this building.
The carpenter shop, pattern shop, tin shop, paint shop, and saw shop (where blades for hot and cold saws are straightened and prepared) are situated at one corner of the company's property, some distance from the mills and close to the river.
A very complete and thoroughly equipped laboratory is in connection with the works, in a brick building 40 X 90 feet, built for the purpose. Adjoining the laboratory is a smaller building in which a 200,000-pound testing machine, made by Olsen & Co., of Philadelphia, is located. A similar machine occupies a testing room in the plate mill.
By means of the laboratory and testing machines, a careful and thorough record of the analysis and physical characteristics of the steel produced is kept. All pig iron, scrap, spiegel, ferro-manganese, etc., that go into the manufacture of the steel (either bessemer or open-hearth) are analysed, and the product of the furnaces and converters are similarly treated.
In the testing machines, each plate. angle, flat, channel or beam (as the case may be) is tested by sample for tensile strength, elastic limit, reduction and elongation, all of which are recorded and filed away, with the analysis of the material. In addition to this, the material is subjected to all manner of tests, such as quenching and bending, bending cold, punching and drifting, or any other special tests which may be desired.
Yards.—The yard service includes three standard gauge engines which transfer the product of the mills to the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and six narrow-gauge engines of various sizes for carrying steel from mill to mill. There are nine miles of standard and narrow-gauge tracks in the works.
In addition to a number of hand cranes and hydraulic cranes about the yards, in the various shipping departments, there are four 10,000-pound and two 5000-pound Yale & Towne locomotive cranes, which assist in the handling and shipping of slabs and the transfer of ingot-moulds at the converting mill.
The water supply for the mills is derived from the Monongahela river.
The plant at the water works includes four boilers, two compound duplex steam pumps (Wilson, Snyder & Co., 3,000,000 gallons per 24 hours), and two tanks.
SYSTEM OF THE WORKS.
The works are under the charge of a general superintendent. Each mill or department has its particular superintendent, under whom, in turn, are his various clerks and foremen. The mills are run night and day.
The offices of the various mill superintendents, shipping clerks, etc., are all connected with each other and with the general office by a system of telephones, to avoid delay and obviate as far as possible the necessity of sending messengers.
The yearly pay-roll amounts to, approximately, two millions of dollars. Number of men employed, 2500.