Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Copperweld Steel Mill - Workday Wednesday

My father, Lee Doyle, had a long association with the Warren location of the Copperweld Steel Company.  He began working there between 1940 and 1941 and retired in 1974.  In this first in a brief series of posts about Dad and Copperweld, you can read about the opening of the Warren plant in 1939.  With the war in Europe expanding, it was great timing for the company to increase its operations, although its owners had no way of knowing that the U.S. would be drawn into that war less than two years later.

Copperweld Steel of Glassport, Pa, announced in a Vindicator article on September 14, 1939, that it had planned to erect a new mill in Glassport but last minute changes indicated that it would be built in an undisclosed location in Ohio.  It was the first new mill since the outbreak of the war in Europe.  (From the article it's unclear whether it's the first new steel mill in the U.S. or the state, or by some other criteria.)

Then, the construction of a steel mill in Warren, Ohio, was announced on the front page of the September 27, 1939, issue of The Youngstown Vindicator.  Like it's parent company, Copperweld Steel Company of Glassport, Pennsylvania, the new mill would also be called Copperweld Steel.  It was to sit on 423 acres on N. Mahoning Avenue, Ext., where five buildings, one a fifth of a mile long, were to be constructed.  Of the 700 men it was to employ, 90% of them would be local men.

The Vindicator reported,
$2,000,000 Mill Will Employ 700 Men Next Spring
     Copperweld Steel manufactures copper-covered steel wire, rods and related products, used principally in the electric field.  A molten welding process is used to unite a thick jacket of copper with a heated steel billet.  The welded billet is rolled into rods which are drawn into wire, the proportion of copper to the steel core being the same whether in rods or in the finest wire....
     Copperweld will make its own steel here.  Two 35-ton electric furnaces with an annual capacity of 100,000 tons have been ordered for delivery within 90 days.  Rolling capacity of 250,000 tons annually is planned.
     The three buildings on the property, on 71x526 feet and the others 40x264 feet will be used.  Present buildings have 49,776 square feet of floor space while the proposed five new ones will provide a total of 263,676 square feet.
Copperweld was expected to be fully operational by March, 1940.

The 1940 U.S. Census, taken April 1 of that year, indicates that my father was working as a fire man at a sheet steel mill in Niles, Ohio.  My brother remembers that he was working at the Niles Rolling Mill.

 My father was likely not one of the very first employees of the Copperweld Steel Mill in Warren, but he probably began work there within a year or two of its opening.

More about my father and Copperweld Steel to follow.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Nancy, thank you for doing this series on Copperweld. I'm looking forward to the future installments.

    1. You're welcome, Leah. This has been on the back burner for several months, at least. I hope to post every week for a few weeks, but we'll see.

  2. Between the news article and the 1940 census, you have a good handle on your dad's work history. I look forward to the next installment.

    1. Hi, Wendy. My father once took the time to record (on an old-fashioned tape recorder) his life experiences and employment history, from the time he left the farm until his retirement. Wouldn't you know, my mom taped over it! Other sources are helpful.

  3. My grandfather and some of his brother worked for copperweld steel in glassport in tge 1940's. I found many paychecks in his old papers from there. John adam ditter. So interesting to learn about my grandfatgers history.

    1. How interesting to have found paychecks in your grandfather's papers, Debbie. It's great that he saved them.


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