Homestead Steel Works

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Steel workers gaze on as molten steel is poured from ladle to casts at Homestead Steel Works.

Homestead Steel Works was a large steel works located on the Monongahela River at Homestead, Pennsylvania in the United States. It was developed in the nineteenth century as an extensive plant served by tributary coal and iron fields, a railway 425 miles (684 km) long, and a line of lake steamships. The works were the site of one of the more serious labour disputes in U.S. history, which became known as the Homestead Strike of 1892.


The steel works were first constructed in 1881. Andrew Carnegie, (a Scottish emigrant), bought the 2 year old Homestead Steel Works in 1883, and integrated it into his Carnegie Steel Company.[1]

A series of industrial disputes over wages, working hours and contracts occurred in the early years of the works, leading to the Homestead Strike, an industrial lockout and strike which began on June 30, 1892, culminating in a battle between strikers and private security agents on July 6, 1892.[2] The battle was one of the most serious disputes in U.S. labor history and the final result was a major defeat for the union and a setback for their efforts to unionize steelworkers.

In 1896, Carnegie built the Carnegie Library of Homestead in nearby Munhall as part of concessions to the striking workers. (This however has never been validated. Carnegie had the plans drawn up in the late 1880s, and run ins with the Union bosses kept him from actually building it.)

In 1901 Carnegie sold his operations to U.S. Steel. On January 6, 1906 it was announced that the company would undergo upgrades and expansions worth seven million dollars ($187 million today.[when?]) The workforce peaked at 15,000 during World War II.[3] William J. Gaughan was a Senior Designer of Operations Planning and Control at the company who developed computer systems to aid in automation of various operations. Throughout his management career Gaughan had developed an interest in the history of Homestead Steel Works and began to collect photos and pamphlets regarding the company.[4] The plant closed in 1986 because of a severe downturn in the domestic steel industry, from which the industry still[when?] hasn't recovered.

Carrie Furnace, a blast furnace across the Monongahela River from the main site
Shopping center

A few remnants of the steel works were not destroyed.[5] Today[when?] the land is home to The Waterfront shopping center and Sandcastle Waterpark.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Homestead Steel Works at Wikimedia Commons