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Trading History: Bethlehem Steel One of Histories Super Stocks 10/4/1915 $399

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  • Trading History: Bethlehem Steel One of Histories Super Stocks 10/4/1915 $399

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    Bethlehem Steel

    The Bethlehem Steel Corporation (1857-2003), base in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,
    once was the second largest steel producer in the United States (after Pittsburgh,
    Pennsylvania-based US Steel). But following its 2001 bankruptcy, the company was
    dissolved and the remaining assets sold to International Steel Group in 2003. In
    2005, ISG merged with Mittal Steel, ending U.S. ownership of the assets of
    Bethlehem Steel. During its life, Bethlehem Steel was also one of the largest
    shipbuilding companies in the world and was one of the most powerful symbols of
    American manufacturing leadership. Bethlehem Steel's demise often is cited as one
    of the most prominent examples of the U.S. economy's transition away from industrial
    manufacturing and its inability to compete with cheap foreign labor.
    Founding
    The Company began on April 8, 1857 as the
    Saucona Iron Works in South Bethlehem,
    Pennsylvania. Then, on May 1, 1861, the
    company changed its name to Bethlehem Iron
    Works. Alfred Hunt was elected president by the


    board of directors on July 15, 1860. In it's early years, it produced railroad rails, and
    armor plating for the U.S. Navy. In 1899, the company assumed the name,
    Bethlehem Steel Company. In 1904, Charles M. Schwab (recently resigned from
    U.S. Steel, and unrelated to the stockbroker Charles R. Schwab) and Joseph Wharton
    formed the Bethlehem Steel Corporation with Schwab becoming the first President
    and chairman of its board of directors. The Bethlehem Steel Corporation ascended to
    great prominence in American industry, installing the revolutionary grey rolling mill
    and producing the first wide-flange structural shapes to be made in America. These
    shaoes were largely responsible for ushering in the age of the skyscraper and
    establishing Bethlehem Steel as the leading supplier of steel to the construction
    industry. In the early 1900s, the corporation branched out from steel, with iron mines
    in Cuba and shipyards around the counrty. In 1913, it acquired the Fore River
    Shipbuilding Company of Quincy, Massachusetts, thereby assuming the role of one of
    the world's major shipbuilders.


    Behind American Landmarks
    In 1916, Eugene Grace became the company's president, and, in 1945,
    he became its chairman, leading the company until 1957. Grace
    aquired a number of additional steel plants in the 1920s, and
    Bethlehem produced the steel for many of the country's most
    prominent landmarks, including New York City's Rockefeller Center
    and Madison Square Garden and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
    The Steel for American armed forces

    During World War I and World War II, Bethlehem Steel was
    a major supplier of armor plate and ordnance products to the
    U.S. armed forces. Many of the nation's fighting ships used
    armor plate and large caliber guns supplied by Bethlehem
    Steel. During World War II, Bethlehem's 15 shipyards


    produced a total of 1,121 ships, more than any other builder
    during the war, employing as many as 180,000 persons in the
    process (company total employment was 30,000). When
    peacetime came, the plant continued to supply a wide variety
    of structural shapes for the construction trades and forged
    products for defense, power generation and steel-producing


    companies. Bethlehem Steel's high point came in the 1950's, as the company began
    manufacturing some 23 million tons per year, and it built its largest plant, at Burns
    Harbor, Indiana, between 1962 and 1964. In 1958, the company's president, Arthur
    B Homer, was the highest paid business executive in the U.S.
    Shipyards
    Fore River Shipyard - Massachusetts Aerial View

    Sparrows Point Shipyard - Maryland (now Barletta Industries Sparrows Point
    Shipyard and Industrial Complex)
    Aerial View

    Alameda Shipyard - California Aerial View

    San Francisco Shipyard - California (formerly U.S. Iron Works, now BAE Systems
    San Francisco Ship Repair)
    Aerial View
    Freight Cars
    From 1923-1991, Bethlehem Steel was one of the world's leading producers of
    roailroad freight cars thorugh their purchase of the former Midvale Steel and
    Ordinance Company of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Despite its status as a major
    intergrated steel maker, Bethlehem Steel Freight Car Division pioneered the use of
    aluminum in freight car construction. The Johnstown plant was purchased from
    Bethlehem Steel through a management buyout in 1991, creating Johnstown
    America Industries. Johnstown America has since expanded with the accquisition of
    a second manufacturing plant in Danville, Illinois and a public offering on the
    Nasdaq under the new name FreightCar America Corporation. FreightCar America
    is the only American-owned part of the former Bethlehem Steel that remains
    publicly-traded.
    Facing foreign competition
    While the U.S. steel industry prospered during WWII, the steel industries in Germany
    and Japan were devastated by Allied bombardment. As a result, they had to be
    rebuilt after the war, but were rebuilt with more modern techniques such as
    continuous casting in their now newer plants. This efficiency, plus the high benefit
    concessions given to U.S. steel workers during the two decades that the U.S. steel
    industry opperated without signfificant foreign competition, set the stage for a
    significant price differential in the 1980's.
    In the mid-1980's, the market for the plants structural products began to diminish,
    and new competition entered the marketplace. Lighter, lower construction styles,
    resulting in low-rise buildings not requiring the heavy structural grades produced at
    the Bethlehem plant, caused Bethlehem Steel to discontinue its steel making
    activities at the main Bethlehem plant by the end of 1995. After roughly 140 years
    of metal production at its Bethlehem, Pennsylvania plant, Bethlehem Steel ceased
    operations in Bethlehem. Bethlehem Steel exited the railroad car business in 1993
    and ceased shipbuilding activities in 1997 in an attempt to preserve its core
    steelmaking operations.
    Cheaper foreign steel began being imported in the 1980s, negatively impacting
    Bethlehem Steel's market share in the U.S. steel industry. In 1982, the company
    reported a loss of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars and was forced to shut down many of its
    operations. Profitability returned briefly in 1988, but restructuring and shutdowns
    continued through the 1980s and 1990s.


    Closing and bankruptcy
    With the closing of its local operations and its extraordinary
    ensuing impact on the local Lehigh Valley area, Bethlehem
    Steel decided to help revitalize the South Side of
    Bethlehem, and hired outside consultants to develop
    conceptual plans on the reuse of the massive property. The
    consensus was to rename the 163-acre site Bethlehem
    Worksand use the land for cultural, recreational,
    educational, entertainment and retail development. The
    National Museum of Industrial History, in association with
    the Smithsonian Institution, and


    the Bethlehem Commerce Center, consisting of 1,600 acres of
    prime industrial property, were erected on the site. In 2001,
    Bethlehem Steel formally filed for bankruptcy. Two years later, in
    2003, the company's remnants, including six massive plants, were
    acquired by the International Steel Group.
    References
    Hall, P.J. (1915), "History of South Bethlehem, PA." ,
    Semi-centennial, the borough of South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,
    1865-1915, Quinlan Printing Co.

    "The Sinking of Bethlehem Steel", Fortune magazine, April 5,
    2004. Photo documentary of the Bethlehem Steel plant "Forging
    America: The History of Bethlehem Steel". The (Allentown)
    Morning Call.

    Wikipedia Online Free Encyclopedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethlehem_Steel

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