Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Company
Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Company is a descendant of Sloss Iron & Steel Company. The company name was changed in 1902 following the acquisition of the blast furnace plants and coal and iron ore reserves of the Sheffield Iron Company.
The Sloss Furnace Company was started in 1881 by Colonel James Withers Sloss to capitalize on the unusual coincidence of coal, iron ore, limestone, and water in the Birmingham District. Colonel Sloss had been active in the creation of the South & North Alabama railroad and thus knew of the mineral deposits in the area where that railroad crossed the Alabama Great Southern. It was this crossing that had determined the location of the city of Birmingham when it was chartered in 1871.
The first furnace began making iron along 1st Avenue North in 1882. A second furnace was placed on blast in 1883. Colonel Sloss sold the company in 1885 and it was renamed Sloss Iron & Steel Company. Upon the purchase of Sheffield Iron Company, the company name was changed again to Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Company. Despite their names, none of the Sloss companies ever manufactured steel.
Under the leadership of vice-president James William McQueen, the company expanded and upgraded its physical plant to meet demand during World War I. In 1917 the company acquired blast furnaces at Gadsden, iron ore mines in Jefferson and Etowah counties and coal properties in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties from the Alabama Company. Construction was begun on the North Birmingham By Products Coke Oven Plant in 1918, and the first coke was produced in 1920. Slag Wool manufacturing began in 1947 at the North Birmingham location. In 1952 Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Company merged with U.S. Pipe and Foundry Company.
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