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Historical Perspective: Atlantic Steel

The Atlanta Hoop Company steel mill opened in 1901 and manufactured barrel hoops and cotton bale ties, according to historian Franklin Garrett. By the 1960s the company employed more than 2,000 people and two huge electronic furnaces in the manufacture of nails, wire fencing, I-beams, angle irons, reinforcing beams, and other products.

Electrodes heated eighty-five tons of steel to 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit for a three-and-a-half hour “cook.” Then the hot steel was poured into a ladle and transferred to molds to create 6,000 ingots. The ingots were then reheated to 2,500 degrees, pressed, and shaped into their final forms.

At the end of the process, a still glowing-hot material known as slag was emptied from the ladle into a pit. An operator in a Caterpillar 977 Traxcavator with a blade then moved in and pushed that hot slag into a refuse car to be carried away.

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