Carnegie and Homestead Works
Carnegie Steel grew fast. Along with those growing pains, came a growing staff. The workers struggled with the unfair conditions and formed strikes. Was it successful for them?
Carnegie Steel made major technological innovations in the 1880s, especially the installation of the open-hearth system at Homestead in 1886. It now became possible to make steel suitable for structural beams and for armor plate for the United States Navy, which paid far higher prices for the premium product. In addition, the plant moved increasingly toward the continuous system of production. Carnegie installed vastly improved systems of material-handling, like overhead cranes, hoists, charging machines, and buggies. All of this greatly sped up the process of steelmaking, and allowed the production of vastly larger quantities of the product. As the mills expanded, the labor force grew rapidly, especially with less skilled workers. In response, the more-skilled union members reacted with a strike designed to protect their historic position. Click here to learn more.
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