Sunday, December 14, 2008

Steel City 2.0

From the AP, but running in the International Herald Tribune is a headline that must strike a chord here: Laid-off Illinois steelworkers forge ahead. In one of the more curious angles of the recession's impact on Pittsburgh, not only is US steel consolidating jobs IN Pittsburgh, but other steel news is at least ok. See how Latrobe Steel just announced a big new defense order. Steel is going to continue to be hit by the crescendo of bad news in the auto industry. Bad news of course that the local GM plant is finally closing, although I really don't think that is about the current recession at all. GM had been trying to sell or get rid of that plant for an awfully long time so one ought not to overinterpret. The auto industry news and what it could mean here is too much to tackle. It is worth noting that the GM Lordstown plant just over in Ohio is scheduled for a couple weeks of downtime in January, but is otherwise exceptional. GM announced that it would idle most of its plants in the first quarter of 2009 but that the "The only G.M. plant in the United States or Canada not affected by Friday’s announcement is in Lordstown, Ohio. ". If GM really does blow up, I wonder if they will be making Tata's there or something at that plant some day. All in the near term is going to be a rough road for steel, but it's not like the world is going to stop needing steel forever. In fact, the legacy of steel is that Pittsburgh is a supplier of expertise to that entire worldwide industry unlike ever before. And of course still watching what the Obama infrastructure plan could mean for steel demand in the US.

But looking at the debate over what to do with the auto industry, it just keeps coming back to the history of big steel in the US. I really do need to write a book. The foil will be figuring out when the moment came that Pittsburgh realized it would not be a steel economy in the future. I think I have finally found the perfect foil for the opening chapter. The beginning of the end must be the amazing hubris epitomized in this 1959 film Rhapsody in Steel which is online via the ASIFA Hollywood Animation Archive. The 58mb Quicktime Movie is here, but you can pretty much imagine the whole thing from this one still:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consolidation at the ET Works shouldn't be too surprising. With the relatively new blast furnaces and continuous casters there, it should be one of USS's more efficient plants.

Sunday, December 14, 2008 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steel building kitsoptions exist for both homes and businesses. You can purchase kits for extra storage, sheds, garages, and even metal houses. There are also a lot of commercial and industrial options. You can find kits for airplane hangars, extra storage, larger buildings, and even correctional

Sunday, December 14, 2008 6:46:00 PM  

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