On Saturday, Oct. 12 Carrie Furnaces volunteer Paul Baumgart and 48″ Mill Chief Engineer Rick Rowlands began clearing the trees and vegetation from around the 48″ mill parts stored at the Trafford, PA storage site. We still have at least one full days’ worth of clearing to do before all of the vegetation is gone. The parts that are stored outside include the engine cylinders, bedplates, mill housings, roller tables, crankshaft and mill pulpit. The pulpit has deteriorated significantly and will be scrapped on site. Everything else will be moving to the Blowing Engine House by the end of the year.
Last week Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp. acquired a Grove RT-49 10 ton hydraulic crane that we will be using in the assembly of the 48″ mill. This crane will be very helpful in the assembly of the smaller components of the mill, as well as being of general use for projects around the Carrie Furnaces. Considering that it was purchased for $4,500, the crane was quite a bargain and will save thousands in crane rental expenses.
The Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation in Homestead, PA has retained the services of Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation to manage the reassembly and restoration of the steam driven 48″ universal plate mill that was originally installed at the Carnegie Steel Homestead Works in 1899. The mill, weighing over 1,100 tons, was dismantled in 1992 and moved to a former Westinghouse plant in Trafford, PA where it has been in storage. A grant was recently awarded to Rivers of Steel to fund the reassembly, and since Youngstown Steel Heritage is the only entity in the US with experience in the restoration of large rolling mill steam engines, we were asked to oversee this project. The mill will be moved to the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Swissvale, PA and installed in the blowing engine house. It is our intention to install the mill in such a way as to permit future operational demonstrations of plate rolling.
There are three steel industry rolling mill engines in existence in the US, our 4,000 HP Tod Engine, the 48″ mill’s 5,000 HP 50″ x 60″ reversing engine and a twin tandem compound reversing engine at the former Weirton Steel. The Weirton engine is unlikely to be preserved, but the other two are now under our care and will receive top notch mechanical and cosmetic restorations.
We will be documenting the reassembly and restoration of the 48″ mill on this site, so please bookmark or follow this site and visit frequently to follow along on our progress.