LTV Steel (fka J&L Steel)

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Category: Steelmill

Related Job Sites
J&L Steel (Southside Works) (Steelmill)
LTV Steel South Side Plant (fka J&L Steel) – Pittsburgh, PA (Steelmill)

What are related job sites?

Related job sites may be names LTV Steel (fka J&L Steel) was “formerly known as” (f/k/a) or “also known as” (“a/k/a”) or simply typos that have been introduced into various systems (both external and internal). Names of places may be further confused as a result of city name changes, typos, or similar geographical confusion.

Asbestos Exposure Injuries

Mesothelioma, lung cancer, colon and colo-rectal cancers, throat cancer, laryngeal cancer, esophageal and asbestosis

LTV Steel (Jones & Laughlin Steel Company)

For more than 100 years, Jones & Laughlin Steel Company stood as one of America’s greats. Regarded by rivals in the industry as one of the finest integrated steel mills in operation, J&L prospered, adapted and grew to maintain its reputation. At one point, it made almost every steel product available with only two exclusions: heavy rails and armor plate. The three components of J&L Steel Company—Hazelwood Works, South Side Plant and Aliquippa Works—ran a total of seven miles along the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Benjamin Franklin Jones left his job as a Philadelphia-Pittsburgh canal barge operator to pursue a career in industry. After a failed blast furnace firing in 1851, Jones purchased part of an iron works company located in Pittsburgh’s South Side. Originally partnering with Bernard Lauth, the American Iron Company was officially founded in 1852.

Two years later, a wealthy banker with a rolling mill in Hazelwood bought into the company and Lauth sold his interests, leading to the establishment of Jones & Laughlin Steel Company in 1861, a name it held for 123 years.

J&L becomes a steel company

After exclusively producing iron for 25 years, J&L started manufacturing steel in 1886. As a fully integrated steel mill, J&L supplied all of its needs, from transportation to coal mining. The company owned ore beds near Lake Superior and held ownership in the Mesaba-Cliffs Mining Company. The extensive mill had all the blast furnaces, coke ovens and open-hearth ovens needed. The newly constructed Hot Metal Bridge connected the South Side and Hazelwood plants over the Monongahela and at one point an incline brought workers down to the South Side. An inland waterways system allowed the transportation of coal to be much less expensive. J&L also began the practice of shipping finished steel products south down the river, reaching as far New Orleans.

At its peak, J&L was so efficient it could supply all steel needs in the area if its competitors went out of business.

Flourishing steel mill expands

After almost 20 years producing steel, J&L Steel Mill decided to expand its operations and a new plant was built in Aliquippa, 26 miles down the Monongahela River. Named for a local amusement park, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, grew out of a 1750 settlement known then as ‘Logstown.’ The prime river location made it ideal for developing industries, including saw and grist milling.

Jones & Laughlin purchased the nearby Ohio River Island and demolished the amusement park to develop what would become the largest integrated steel mill, consisting of the South Side Plant, Hazelwood Works and newly constructed Aliquippa Works.

To accommodate the new immigrant population flocking to Pittsburgh for work in the mills, J&L purchased a neighboring city called Woodlawn and developed it for an employee living area. To reduce conflict among the workers from different cultures and companies, the city was divided into different plans by race and ethnicity.

Woodlawn thrived and was recognized as a jewel in the area for its pristine environment, modern technology and community activities. Eventually, Woodlawn and Aliquippa merged in 1928. What was Woodlawn became Aliquippa and what was Aliquippa became known as West Aliquippa because the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad that ran along the mill viewed it to be more to the west. Because it was so close to the railroad tracks, Aliquippa Works had its own railway system known as the Aliquippa & Southern Railroad.

Depression hits hard

As the Great Depression began to sweep the country, J&L Steel Company was committed to keeping its workforce intact instead of sending thousands of workers to unemployment. Sure that better times were to come, the steel mill reduced hours and helped the families by planting and promoting vegetable gardens on unused mill property, farmed by the underemployed workers and their families.

After eight years of immense profits, 1930 to 1936 saw profits continually fall. In 1932, the biggest plunge was taken with a 400 percent drop. Even as other steel companies saw profits begin to rise in 1935, J&L remained in the red.

Aside from general economic struggle, Jones & Laughlin faced additional problems based on the type of products it produced. Seventy percent of all its business at the time was pipe, structural steel and merchant bars, with the main clients being oil and construction industries. Because the Depression hit these industries hard, J&L also suffered. The steel industry saw profits during the Depression with lightweight strip steel, but J&L wasn’t equipped to produce such a product.

Further problems for J&L arose when The Great Flood hit Pittsburgh in March 1936. For almost three decades, Pittsburgh civil organizations had petitioned the Federal Government for aid in flood control, a system the city desperately needed. When warmer temperatures combined with large amounts of rain, snow and ice along the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers began to melt. At this point, the levels of the rivers and their tributaries were already high, creating the perfect recipe for disaster.

The unprotected city fell prey to flooding that rose more than 20 feet above flood stage and peaked at 46 feet. Approximately 100,000 buildings were destroyed, many were killed and injured and damages exceeded $250 million, or $4 billion today. Water and electricity were out for days and it took four days for the water to recede to 24 feet, a foot below flood stage.

Also known as The Great St. Patrick’s Day Flood as it occurred March 17 and 18, this disaster caused steel mills along the rivers to temporarily close and put 60,000 workers in a 30 mile radius out of work. J&L was no exception to the devastation, and faced damages between $750,000 to $1 million at the time. Moreover, the timing of the flood came when Jones & Laughlin were trying to secure more funding to expand the mill once more.

To compensate, J&L adjusted its plan and eventually moved forward after operations resumed post flooding to build a continuous sheet and strip mill at the South Side works location. Its addition allowed increased production totals overall as well as the making of more profitable auto parts.

Within a few years, the steel industry was booming again because of World War II. The economy improved and J&L Steel worked to meet the sizable demands needed for the war effort. Millions of tons of rolled steel were produced for weapons needs, including tank armor and ship hulls. The Aliquippa Workers boasted that their efforts helped win the logistical side of World War II.

J&L Steel Mill under new management

After many prosperous years, J&L Steel Corporation received an offer to purchase part of the mill. Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., based out of Texas sought 63 percent of the company in 1968. Four days after receiving the offer, J&L agreed and sold it for $428.5 million, or $2.92 billion today. Within six years, Ling-Temco-Vought had full control of the company, but J&L Steel Company still retained its name.

As the steel industry began to decline, J&L began acquiring other factories to diversify and expand business. In 1978, the steel company purchased Youngstown Sheet and Tube. Three years later, it acquired McLouth Steel Products located in Detroit in an assumed attempt to hone in on the auto market. A new company was formed after a 1984 merger with Republic Steel, named LTV Steel.

The merger came at a time when steel mills along the Pittsburgh rivers became less and less profitable, eventually closing. LTV Steel was in reorganizational bankruptcy and looking to save money. It made the sudden yet not unexpected choice to close most of Aliquippa Works, and effectively put almost 8,000 steel workers out of a job. By 1989, most of the J&L production facilities were closed.

J&L today

Slowly, the buildings and factories that were once the seven-mile stretch of J&L Steel Company were dismantled. After closing most of Aliquippa Works, LTV Corporation scrapped the sections of the mill no longer used and helped attract other industrial and real estate interests.

Blast furnaces can still be found along the Monongahela River in tribute to the industry that built Pittsburgh, but the mills are all but a memory. Both sides of the Monongahela River where Hazelwood Works and the South Side Plant once stood were transformed by 2005, featuring the Pittsburgh Technology Center near downtown. Across the river, the residential and commercial development SouthSide Works is located where the mill operated and features many restaurants and stores.

The Hot Metal Bridge, once the connection between both sides of the plant, is now a road bridge. Cars, pedestrians and cyclists alike may cross. The pedestrian area is actually part of the much larger Great Allegheny Passage.

Steel Mill Details

Many positions and occupations within a steel mill allowed extreme levels of asbestos exposure among the workers. When inhaled, asbestos is a carcinogen that can cause several cancers, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and colon cancer, as well as asbestos diseases like asbestosis.

Because it was fully integrated steel mill, some of the most dangerous areas for workers were located at J&L Steel Works, including blast furnaces, coke ovens, basic oxygen furnaces, strip mills and an open hearth department.

Blast Furnace

This tall metal chamber is used to turn iron ore into iron. Blast furnaces use a blast of hot air free the molten iron from the iron ore by heating the raw material to more than 3000°F as it works it way to the bottom of the chamber. The coke is inserted to burn the hot air to assist in reaching the optimal temperature and create large volumes of carbon monoxide during the burning to create the chemical that strips the oxygen from the iron ore.

Different jobs associated with the blast furnace include:

The keeper instructs and advises the work that needs completed for the casting and flushing of a blast furnace. This includes drilling the taphole to fill ladles with the molten metal, guiding the oxygen lance into the taphole during the tapping of the furnace and letting the molten iron flow into ladles and runners, plugging the taphole. The keeper helper assists the keeper in tapping iron from the furnace.
The laborer assists with cleaning up after the various processes and performs other types of manual work.

A larryman operated the larry car, or a car on rails with a tapered underside used to charge coke ovens from above. The larrycar would contain ore, scrap and limestone to charge the furnaces.

A stove tender maintained the heating of the blast furnaces stoves, regulating the temperature and adjusting when necessary.

A pipe fitter is a type of laborer that maintains the pipelines by installing and repairing them and their fittings and fixtures.

The bricklayer keep the furnace lining in good condition as well as hot metal cars, runner and troughs maintenance.

Coke Oven

At J&L Steel, the coke ovens were located at Hazelwood Works and remained in operation until at least the early 1990s. The coke oven creates an essential ingredient to creating molten lava in the blast furnace – coke. Coal is placed in the tall and narrow metal box lined with heat resistant brick. Gas fumes burn in the dividing walls, causing the moisture and more volatile chemicals to be baked off, resulting in almost pure carbon substance called coke. At least 50 are placed together to create a coke oven battery.

Each oven holds between 15 and 35 tons of coal and the coke-making process takes around 17 hours.

Coke oven jobs include:

The patcher sprays the walls with fireproofing spray and patches any worn bricks on the coke oven with a refractory mortar.
The heater will monitor the oven temperature and ensure it remains at the proper level. Additionally, the heater will inspect the oven and instruct the heater help and patchers in fixing the walls.

A heater helper works with the patcher and heater to maintain and operate the coke ovens.

A pipe fitter is a type of laborer that maintains the pipelines by installing and repairing them and their fittings and fixtures.

The bricklayer keep the furnace lining in good condition as well as hot metal cars, runner and troughs maintenance.

A larryman operated the larry car, or a car on rails with a tapered underside used to charge coke ovens from above. The larrycar would contain ore, scrap and limestone to charge the furnaces.

Production jobs at the coke over included pusher, quench car operator, door cleaner, door operator, tar chaser, wharfman and spellman.

Basic Oxygen Furnace

The basic oxygen furnace (BOF) is a pear-shaped metal bowl used to strip the carbon and other impurities from the iron coming from the blast furnace to create steel. Lined with a chemically active heat resistant brick, the BOF is tilted and charged with steel scrap before the molten iron is placed on top of the pile. The BOF is then returned to its upright position and the oxygen lance is inserted into the top, shooting a high-pressure stream of almost pure oxygen that charges the surface. Fluxing agents are added to assist the oxygen in burning lime, excess carbon and other impurities and the slag captures the rest. To make a 200-ton batch of steel takes approximately 45 minutes in a BOF.

Workers operating the BOF experienced asbestos exposure through curtains, clothing, topping compounds, hot tops, sideboards and refractories.

The keeper inserts the liquid oxygen lance into the top to begin the steel-making process.

Strip and Sheet Mills

Also known as the continuous mill and Master Department, this section of J&L Steel was located on the Hazelwood side and housed the hot and cold mills. With more than 42 acres under one roof, this was the largest department at J&L Steel and filled customer specific needs with the ability to roll strip or sheet steel of up 2,000 feet or longer.

A hot strip mill was an innovative process that rolled steel slabs into strips and was a more inexpensive solution to prior methods due to keeping every step of the process at the same site, beginning with a blast furnace. The slabs are heated to approximately 2300°F to soften the steal for rolling, assist with surface imperfection removal and dissolve any nitrides or carbides.

The steel slab leaves the reheat furnace and it enters a unit with high-pressure water sprays. Refractory brick and mortar were used with the reheat furnace, created increased risk of asbestos exposure in the workers. Next, roughing stands reduce the thickness from about nine inches to one inch. The roughing train cause the slap to become longer and thinner, followed by the vertical rolls to maintain width. At the end of the roughing train, the slab is sheared so the transfer bar and can further reduce the thickness. Eventually, the strip is subjected to top and bottom cooling sprays to control the shape and mechanical properties before being coiled.

Cold rolling takes hot rolling one step further to process for different surface finishes and dimensions. The metal is cooled in a cold reduction mill at room temperature before being rolled again. From here, the steel can be transformed.

Positions in the strip mill:

The coiler is in charge of the equipment used to stack and coil the products that are rolled on the hot strip mill.

A coil slitter will prepare and operate the slitter line and slit the coiled strips.

J&L departments and equipment found in the rolling and strip mills:

18″ Mill scarfing beds (worked in conjunction with South Side)
18″ Mill aka P-1 Bar Mill
19″ Mill aka P-2 Bar Mill or 10″ Mill
Spike Mill reheat furnaces
Drever Furnace
Chain making
Stainless grinders (works in conjunction with South Side)
96″ Hot Strip Rolling Division
Slab yard
Reheating furnaces
Scale breaker mill
Roughing mills
96″ Hot strip mill
Roll finishing stop
Hot Strip Finishing Division
Pickle operation
Steel finishing units
Plate finishing units
Shipping operations
Cold Strip Finishing Division
Coil storage and pickle line operation
Line A – 93″ width
Line B – 54″ width
Cold reducing mills
93″ Cold reducing mill
54″ Cold reducing mill
Roll finishing shop
Old annealing
New annealing
Tempering mills aka skin mills
Shear lines
Surfa-glaze coating process
Shipping operations
Zinc coating/galvanizing
Anhydrous ammonia storage
Carpenter shop
Machine shop
Pipe shop
Fabricating shop
Strip mill parts storage
Boiler house

At a steel mill, the boiler house creates and provides the steam needed to run several operations. J&L Steel had three boiler houses located on both sides of the Monongahela River. Employees working in the boiler house experienced significantly higher rates of asbestos exposure due to asbestos-covered streamlines, turbines and boilers.

Jobs found in the boiler house include:

A boiler operator monitored, inspected and operated the boilers.
Working under the boiler operator, a water tender monitors the high pressure and steam equipment.

The boiler cleaner assists in cleaning both the inside and outside of the steam boilers and auxiliary equipment.

A bricklayer will repair the boilers, but overhauls or installation was completed by outside contractors.

The laborer assists with cleaning up after the various processes and performs other types of manual work.

The turbine repairmen maintained the boilers and turbines, with tasks including covering turbines, pumps, drums and feed pump heads. Another responsibility is removing boiler jackets and assisting pipe fitters during the tear out and recovery of lines.

Pipefitters maintain the steam lines and work with the turbine repairmen for big jobs.

Open Hearth Furnace

An open hearth furnace is charged with steel scrap and mineral ores. The heat is produced from burning at alternate ends of the furnace, gas, oil or other fuels above the level of the charged material. Air is mixed with the material, preheated in checker chambers that serve as an integral part of the open hearth furnace. The process took approximately 15 hours.

Due to the high heat, asbestos products are present around open hearth furnaces, including pipe covering, gaskets, tape, hot tops and safety clothing. At J&L Steel, the open hearth department was found at the South Side Plant and the large number of asbestos products present has unfortunately led to many mesothelioma diagnoses.

Positions available around the open hearth furnace:
The bricklayers keep the furnace lining in good condition by patching where needed. If an open hearth furnace needed rebuilt, it took more than 15 bricklayers one week.

The laborer is responsible for the furnace deconstruction using a jackhammer to tear out brick, mortar and block insulation.

A rigger assists with the furnace tear out by cutting through the metal furnace shell to begin the process.

A pipe fitter is a type of laborer that maintains the pipelines and boliers by installing and repairing them and their fittings and fixtures.

The electrician repairs cables and wires.

The heater operated the open hearth furnace and sprayed the bulkheads with fireproofing spray.

The heater helper assisted the heater in tapping, operation and maintenance of the furnace.

A boiler operator monitored, inspected and operated the boilers.

Working under the boiler operator, a water tender monitors the high pressure and steam equipment.

The boiler cleaner assists in cleaning both the inside and outside of the steam boilers and auxiliary equipment.

Soaking Pits

Soaking pits are typically found departments specializing in finished steel products. After the molten steel leaves the basic oxygen furnace, open heart or electric furnace, it is poured into ingot molds and allowed to solidify. Next, the steel is removed from the mold, or ‘hot top,’ and placed in little oven-like object that is submersed in the soaking pit, designed to heat the steel at more than 2,000°F for many hours. Its placement in the mini oven allows it to heat evenly throughout it’s time in the soaking pit.

Typically located near steel mill departments that specialize in finished products, J&L Steel had many soaking pits on both the South Side and Hazelwood sides, including by the blooming mill and strip mill.

Soaking pit jobs include:

The bricklayer keep the soaking pit lining in good condition as well as hot metal cars, runner and troughs maintenance.

The laborer assists with cleaning up after the various processes and performs other types of manual work.

A pipe fitter is a type of laborer that maintains the pipelines by installing and repairing them and their fittings and fixtures and repairs the gas piping

The purpose of a nozzleman is to fireproof the soaking pits

A crane operator controls the crane to lift the steel slabs in and out of the soaking pits

Blooming mill

This section of a steel mill creates a type of product called a bloom, which is a chunk of steel with a square cross section measuring more than six inches on each size. The ingots are removed from the soaking pits where they are kept white hot and squeezed between two large steel rolls at the blooming mill. Because the ingots are soft and shapeable, they pass back and forth through the rolls with each pass reducing the cross section and extending the length. When finished, the blooms are cut to a specified length. The blooming mill at J&L Steel was located at the South Side Plant.

Blooming mill jobs include:

The cinderman responsible for clearing the soaking pits of cinder

A blooming mill roller directs the operation of the mill and controls the processing of the ingots into the blooms

The hooker will complete all necessary hooking within the billet mill and billet yard
A scarfer looks for surface defects on the billets, blooms and slabs and uses a hand scarfing torch to burn out any he finds

J&L departments and equipment found in the blooming mill:

Soaking pits
C&D Area
45″ Blooming mill area – slabs
44″ Blooming mill area – structural
28″ Blooming mill area – reduced blooms for billet
Billet mill
Centralized scarfing bed area
Bloom and billet scarfing bed area
By-product department

The purpose of a by-product plant is to collect all the oils, tars and other volatiles produced from coke ovens and transform them into useful chemicals. J&L Steel had a by-product department located at Hazelwood Works.

Byproduct department jobs include:

The byproduct operator who controls the byproducts operation and monitors gauges, temperatures, pressures and the recovery equipment
The byproduct helper maintains the equipment and assists the operator
A pipe fitter is a type of laborer that maintains the pipelines by installing and repairing them and their fittings and fixtures and repairs the gas piping
An exhauster engineer operates the turbo exhausters and air compressors
The saturator man operates the equipment used for the recovery of ammonium sulphate and monitors the pressure, temperature and flow levels
A saturator man helper assists the saturator man in both operation and maintenance

Electric furnace department

Also known as an electric arc furnace, the electric furnace is a round-bottomed pot lined with heat resilient brick with a removable lid/roof that swings aside when the furnace is charged. Cold metal is used to charge the electric furnace and it can produce 100 tons of steel per hour.

Electrodes protrude through the roof of the electric furnace in order to be closer to the surface of the charge, allowing it to become energized to produce powerful lightning like electric arcs that pass between metal and electrodes. This enormous energy melts the charge to make it molten.

Located at the South Side Plant, J&L had an electric furnace department that is sometimes referred to as the open hearth department because it became an all electric department in the 1970s.

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Did you work at LTV Steel (fka J&L Steel) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Have you been injured by asbestos? Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation consultation: 1-800-799-2234.

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Asbestos Exposure and Work History

Creating a thorough work history is vital to a successful asbestos lawsuit. Knowing all the places you worked, such as LTV Steel (fka J&L Steel), is crucial to determining all the asbestos products you were exposed to during a lifetime of work.

Documentation detailing asbestos exposure can require thousands of documents and dozens of depositions. LTV Steel (fka J&L Steel) is one of tens of thousands of job sites in our database.

Built over three decades of dedicated mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos cancer work, our extensive database of job sites, asbestos products and supporting documentation allow us to represent those injured by asbestos quickly, effectively and thoroughly.

From Our Clients

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Without such evidence, the companies that injured you can continue to deny responsibility. We’ve already done the leg work to put LTV Steel (fka J&L Steel) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in our knowlegebase, so we won’t be scrambling to educate ourselves like a less experienced firm.

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It’s a breadth of knowledge gained from more than 30 years of experience representing Pennsylvanians injured by asbestos and their families.

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