Re: Iron [Was: The Strange Case . . .]

Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>

Tony and Dennis,

I didn't want to contradict Dennis' assertion about pig iron not being used for steel production without any materials at hand, but since you (Tony) stepped into this thread I can cite at least one mill that did. If you remember, there used to be a Bethlehem Steel plant in Downey (at Downey and Slauson, IIRC) until the early 1980s. Years ago I wrote an article on this plant and its narrow gauge line for the NARROW GUAGE AND SHORTLINE GAZETTE. In my research I discovered that around the turn of the century the plant's forerunner used imported Chinese pig iron and local scrap to make steel. Indeed, the original mill was a fairly small scale operation. By the time I saw it in the 1970s, the Downey plant only produced steel and steel wire from scrap.

Kind regards,

Garth G. Groff

Dennis said:
Pig iron wouldn't be further refined to steel, either, this was done as a secondary operation when the iron was still molten from it's reduction in the blast furnace . . .
And Tony responded:
Certainly true of the majority of iron produced, but pig iron was often used on a small scale as a feedstock to make steel, and still is, though as Dennis says, the reasons for its use have shrunk considerably. I would say that both of the points Garth quoted from the Wikipedia article are not wrong, but perhaps potentially misleading if not read with understanding.

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