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Portraits in Steel

An Illustrated History of Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation

Daivs H Wollman Donald R Inman

344 pages
The Kent State University Press

This history of Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation paints a gritty portrait of the successes and failures of the American steel industry. The 131-year life of this “American Business” is presented from its origins as one of the many struggling iron makers in the mid-19th century through its leadership in technological innovation and progressive worker/management relations in the early 20th century to its demise in 1984.

J & L Steel, however, was more than just the management styles of the Jones & Laughlin families. From the beginning, its workers were intensely loyal and creative, and Portraits in Steel portrays the sometimes stormy relationship between iron and steel workers and management.

Reaching new levels of production during and after WW II, J & L Steel was a pioneer in developing and adopting the results of scientific and metallurgical research. This prosperity and technical innovation, however, was not enough to sustain the company in the fiercely competitive environment of the 1970s. The great name of Jones and Laughlin Steel disappeared in 1984.

Author Bio

David H. Wollman is professor of history at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and executive director of Beaver County Industrial Museum.

Donald R. Inman was a master electrician with J & L Steel prior to its demise. He is currently a master electrical technician with LTV Steel Co. in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, and is chairman of the board of directors of the Beaver County Industrial Museum.