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 Post subject: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
This isn't strictly railroad related but is from the standpoint of preserving the technology of steam power. The Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation in Homestead, PA has asked me to assist them in the relocation of a 48" steam driven universal plate mill to the Carrie Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Rankin, PA. This rolling mill, built in 1898 by Mackintosh Hemphill in Pittsburgh and installed at the Carnegie Steel Homestead Works, was driven by a 2 cylinder 50" x 60" reversing engine and is not only the oldest such rolling mill in existence, it is the only steam driven rolling mill preserved anywhere.

This mill rolled steel plates up to 48" in width, many of which made their way into locomotive boilers, plate girder bridges, building columns and many other industrial applications. The "universal" part comes from having 4 vertical rolls for shaping the edges of the plates.

The mill and engine tips the scales at over 1,100 tons. The heaviest single piece is the engine crankshaft at 138,000 lbs. It is a jigsaw puzzle of the grandest scale. Even with drawings and photos figuring out where all of these parts go is going to be quite a challenge. Fortunately assembling thousand ton jigsaw puzzles is what I love best!

At this stage I am working up cost estimates for the move with local riggers, and assuming funding is secured we may start moving parts later this summer.

Image
086 by Todengine, on Flickr
This is the crankshaft. That is not a flywheel but a "balance wheel" to partially compensate for the unbalanced nature of the cranks.

Image
085 by Todengine, on Flickr
One of the mill stand sideframes. Only 114,000 lbs.

Image
037 by Todengine, on Flickr
About 1/4 of the small parts. There are over 600 tons of small parts in this room, varying in size from 40,000 lb. mill shoes to bolts and nuts.

Image
007 by Todengine, on Flickr
Right hand cylinder and half of bedplate in 1991 as it was leaving the Homestead Works. Tom Rick, the project leader for the dismantling is on the right. Unfortunately Tom has passed away, taking much of the knowledge about how this mill goes together with him.

Image
002 by Todengine, on Flickr
The engine and mill after pressure washing but before dismantling started. There is a large group of photo of this mill when it was intact on the HAER website. Search for "Homestead 48" mill" and you will find them.

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Rick Rowlands
Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:49 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 613
Once again Rick you take the cake.There are not many who can top your projects for playing with heavy things. There was a time when I thought playing with 100 ton locomotives was "heavy iron". How do you ever find so much heavy iron to move around? Remember reading about one of your other assembly jobs and the weights involved are horrendously inviting. In a thousand years from now some archeologist's will be trying to figure out how and why the humans of our time moved these incredible machines from point A to point B. What a project............Have got to get out to your area and see some of your works in progress. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, John.


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:21 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 4996
Rick -

Carnegie Steel? Might this 48" UPM have ended up under the U.S. Steel banner? If so, have you approached them for donations? Even though USS is no longer in the plate business, they might consider contributing.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
Yes it did operate for US Steel from 1901 until 1983. I don't think that ROS has approached the US Steel Foundation for any assistance yet, but remains a possibility for the future. Fortunately with this project I do not have to concern myself with fundraising, that is being done by people above my pay grade so to speak.

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Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
You mention relocating and you also mention assembly. Are they planning to put it back together and display it on site?


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:09 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
Funding has been secured, and the movement and reassembly of the 48" plate mill has begun! Clearing of the jungle from around the stored large parts is now underway.

Image
003 by Youngstown Steel Heritage, on Flickr

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Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:49 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:06 am
Posts: 465
Location: NE PA
These rolling mill engines are amazingly smooth running engines. Stood on top of the crankcase of several of them on the 36" wide flange beam rolling line at Bethlehem. Other than the sounds, you could hardly tell they were rotating, let alone reversing under power. Truly an amazing experience. Unfortunately, no cameras were permitted. On the opposite side of some of the mill stands were large DC motors designed to replace the steam engines, one was tried on the blooming mill stand and was not successful. They ran with steam until the mill shutdown in the mid 1990s. One engine was designated to be preserved for the National Museum of Industrial History, but the scrappers consumed it. A big thank you to all those involved in this project.

Mike Tillger


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:20 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:32 am
Posts: 118
Location: Alabama
That was truly an unforgotten day when we saw the mill!
The blowing engines were awesome too! Perhaps they will actually be preserved.

Robert Yuill


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:39 pm 

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 10:27 am
Posts: 167
Location: New Haven Ct area
Rick,

That is really neat, from photo #037, do you know why she was taken apart into so many different pieces? From the looks of the picture it seems to be a little excessive of a tear down for a simple move, but maybe I am missing something? Wouldn't one try to grab as large of sub assemblies as could fit over the road on the truck or was that part of a larger effort at one time to restore her? The only other explanation which would make a lot of sense there is if the move was handled mainly by a dedicated bunch of volunteers armed with little more than just a pickup truck or two. None the less with the big stuff clearly having been moved on large trucks I am curious why they didn't leave more of those bits and pieces like the large gears, and other items I seen in the photos on the engine.

I have to think there is a pretty good of a story behind the pile of parts unless that machine is just on a scale so large it is hard to comprehend.


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:16 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:55 pm
Posts: 42
Hot Metal, is the R.O.S. interested in by-product coke ovens ?
Rumor has it that U.S.Steel Clairton coke works will be tearing down a group to
make room for a new one

tim


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:39 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:10 pm
Posts: 670
Location: Iron City
Clairton commissioned a new coke battery but a few months ago.

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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:51 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:07 pm
Posts: 641
I knew of the existence of this steam powered mill, as it was clearly audible many miles away. I lived in Edgewood at the time, maybe 4-5 miles from Homestead Works and the powerful exhausts of this machine would at times rattle our windows. But it was definitely heard much farther.

While composing the Westinghouse diesel locos story (see 12/69 TRAINS) I interviewed Andrew H. Candee, one of the principal Westinghouse engineers on the diesels. Andy lived in the Highland Park section of Pittsburgh at the time, a good 10 miles airline from Homestead Works. While discussing the dieselization of the various Pgh. area railroads, Andy remarked that steam wasn't yet dead (this was c.1968) because he could clearly hear a loco "kicking cars" every night somewhere in the Mon Valley. What he was hearing was this machine, or perhaps others of similar sounds, all the way from Homestead to Highland Park. It took some convincing on my part to make Andy believe that all the steam locos had departed from Pgh. railroads by c.1957/58 and he was hearing a stationary engine.

That's some pretty powerful exhaust beats, and having seen these photos and the specs of this beast, it's obvious why it could be heard at such distances.


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:56 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:55 pm
Posts: 42
Yes, there is a new battery at the clairton coke works, it pushed it first coke almost
a year ago.
There are rumors that they will be tearing down 3 batterys that were shut down
4-6 years ago and building a new one

tim


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:30 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Youngstown, OH
Thanks for the tip, but I think we have more than enough to worry about at this time. Its easy to get the stuff, but its hard to get the money to move it or the people to restore and care for it.

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Rick Rowlands
Steel Industry Preservationist, Narrow Gauge Railroader and ALCOhaulic


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 Post subject: Re: 48" Universal Plate Mill
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:18 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:55 pm
Posts: 42
I would like to know more about some of the "projects" at the furnace. I may be interested in helping out, I work in mill maintenance.

tim
you can contact me on here by PM if you wish.


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