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Carnegie Bessemer converter, schematic diagram, December 5, 2005, PD

The many a stole Worker

The life that a 19th-century stole worker to be grueling. Twelve-hour shifts, seven days a week. Carnegie offered his employees a solitary holiday-the 4th of July; because that the remainder of the year they worked like draft animals. "Hard! ns guess it"s hard," said a laborer in ~ the homestead mill. "I shed forty pounds the very first three months ns came right into this business. That sweats the life the end of a man. I often drink two buckets of water during twelve hours; the sweat drips v my sleeves, and runs under my legs and fills mine shoes."

For numerous the occupational went without a break; others managed to discover a couple of minutes here and also there. "We stop just the time the takes come oil the engine," a prevent of 3 to five minutes, stated William McQuade, a plate-mill worker in 1893. "While they are oiling castle eat, at least some the the boys, some of them; a an excellent many of lock in the mill execute not lug anything come eat in ~ all, since they haven"t gained time come eat.The demanding conditions sapped the life indigenous workers. "You don"t notification any old guys here," said a homestead laborer in 1894. "The long hours, the strain, and the sudden changes of temperature use a male up." Sociologist man A. Fitch dubbed it "old age at forty."For his trouble, the typical worker in 1890 received about 10 dollars a week, just above the poverty heat of 500 dollars a year. It took the wages of virtually 4,000 steelworkers to match the revenue of Andrew Carnegie. 

A Ferocious Geyser the Saffron and also Sapphire

The squat, egg-shaped Bessemer converter seemed an unlikely candidate to command a transformation in manufacturing. Yet once it roared come life in a geyser the flame, nothing can be an ext beautiful or much more terrible.

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The machine transformed pig iron into steel, a procedure previously controlled by highly experienced artisans working with little batches. V the Bessemer converter, reasonably unskilled men might make huge quantities of stole cheaply. Carnegie invested heavily in the converters, installation them in his Edgar Thomson Steel functions at Braddock, PA.In august 1875, the Bessemers in ~ Edgar Thomson make their first blow. Cold air shot through the bottom that the vessels and also through the molten iron. The warm increased tremendously, burning out impurities in the iron and also forming steel. The procedure was simple, yet the impact was extraordinary. In 1893 McClure"s Magazine explained the results:

Out of each pot roared alternately a ferocious geyser that saffron and sapphire flame, streaked through deeper yellow. From the a irradiate streamed -- a light that flung violet shadows everywhere and made the gray outside rain a beautiful blue. A fountain of sparks arose, gorgeous together ten thousands rockets, and fell through a beautiful curve, like the petals the some huge flower. Overhead the beams were glowing orange in a basic of purple. The men were yellow wherein the light struck them, violet in shadow.... The pot began to burn through a whiter flame. That is fluttering, humming roar silenced all else.... A shout was heard, and also a tall crane swung a giant ladle under the converting vessel, which climate mysteriously up-ended, exploding favor a cannon a prodigious discharge the star-like pieces of white-hot slag.... Down came the vessel, till out of that streamed the smooth flow of horrible beautiful molten metal. As it ran virtually empty and the trowel swung away, the dropping slag dropped to the ground exploding, leaping viciously, and also the scene ended up being gorgeous past belief, v orange and red and green flame.

The Bessemer converter ended up being obsolete through the 1930s, and the critical Bessemer in north America went out of the supervisory board in the 1960s. The just remaining Bessemer shop on planet is operation in the Ural hills of Russia. 

The Open-Hearth Furnace

By the rotate of the century, most of Carnegie"s steel come from huge brick ovens called open-hearth furnaces. They to be the future the steel-making. In 1890 at Homestead, the world"s biggest open-hearth mill, 16 heaters ran-each creating forty lots of steel every 6 hours.

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Open-hearth furnaces produced an excellent heat and also used the garbage gases of the molten iron to generate even more heat, practically 3,000 degrees. Fires blazed in ~ both sides of the hearth, passing cook currents the air and gas alternately from each fire end the molten iron. The waste gas passed right into chambers over the 2 fires, trapping heat in one-of-a-kind firebrick and also making the next flow of gas also hotter. The too much heat eventually burned out the impurities in the iron, resulting in silvery white steel.Before the heater was tapped and the steel poured out, workers banged top top beams to warn others to take it cover. "Jesus, it to be hot," recalled a worker. "If there to be water in the molds once they would certainly tap it, the damn thing would explode and also metal would fly almost everywhere the area."

The steel was finished by including carbon and manganese-not as straightforward as that sounds. In 1919 an open-hearth worker described the process in his diary: "You elevator a huge sack of charcoal to your shoulders, run in the direction of the white warm steel in a hundred-ton ladle, must acquire close enough without burning your face off to hurl the sack, using every oz of strength, into the ladle and run, as flames leap to roof and the warm blasts everything to the roof. Then you rush the end to the ladle and also madly shovel manganese into it, as hot a task as deserve to be imagined."By the center of the 20th century, the open-hearth process was exceeded by various other technologies. The critical open-hearth heating systems in north America to be bricked increase in the 1980s.