National Geographic : 1949 Jul
Pittsburgh: Workshop of the Titans U. S. Steel Corp. Even a Bessemer Must Learn Steelmaking the Hard Way English-born Alan (right) is a great-nephew of Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor of the converter that revo lutionized steel production. Young Bessemer is shown molten metal flowing from an open-hearth furnace in the Homestead plant of Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation, where he worked between college terms. After gradu ating from Carnegie Tech, he was employed by a Cleveland subsidiary of United States Steel Corporation. of steps. These are pools or basins, controlled by locks and dams and operated by the Army's Corps of Engineers. For example, the Port of Pittsburgh is on the Emsworth Pool, its water level controlled by the Emsworth Dam. Serious injury to the lock and dam system might prove a national disaster, for it would close the steel mills by depriving them of water. Early one morning I saw the damage done to one lock by a tow of barges whose pilot, in the dense fog, had mistaken the noise and lights of a near-by railroad and steel mill for his own go-ahead signal. "The Busiest Little River in the World" The Monongahela, or "Mon," is perhaps the busiest little river in the world, because more than 27,000,000 tons of coal move upon it each year. A single one of its mills, the Clairton Works of the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation, uses nearly one percent of all the coal mined in the world. A coal tow usually consists of 12 barges, carrying 900 tons or more each, as compared with 60 tons in a railroad freight car. Navigation on these rivers is becoming very modern, for radar is being used by many of the boats to find their way in fogs (page 118). The captains and pilots seem like trim young businessmen; many are college graduates. Former State Senator William B. Rodgers told me that he was the third of four genera tions of licensed river pilots; his grandfather, father, and son were the other three. In 1753 the youthful George Washington described the Monongahela as "extremely well designed for water carriage, as it is of a deep, still nature."* Possibly he did not like * See "Travels of George Washington," by William Joseph Showalter, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1932.