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Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Blast Furnace Row

Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Blast Furnace Row - Bethlehem Steel
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You are looking at blast furnace row. The furnaces are identified from left to right, being lettered A,B,C,D,and E. The oldest furnace is blast furnace A, which was built in 1914. It was rebuilt in 1950 and last ran in 1960. Because of its location directly beside another blast furnace (B, which ran into the 1980s), active mill buildings, and a busy mainline railroad, it was never demolished. A furnace is notable because it is the only surviving blast furnace in the United States that still has triple pass stoves (the vertical tank like structures with smokestacks on top of them). The rest of the blast furnaces have been upgraded to two pass stoves. Each furnace typically had three to five stoves associated with it. The stoves were used to heat the blast of air that was blown into the furnaces. You can see them, labeled as "air heating plant" in the diagram here.

The scene pictured here is very different from when the plant was in operation. The paved road in front would have been filled with railroad tracks that once served the plant, and before that, the mainline of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which was relocated north of the plant, where it still hosts Norfolk Southern trains. Directly in front of the furnaces would have stood a powerhouse with seven giant gas engines which produced 25 cycle AC power. This type of electrical power was noticeable by the visible flicker in light bulbs powered by it. Because this form of power was obsolete by the 1970s, the engines were scrapped. The only surviving element is the flywheel and generator from #7 engine. Between the flywheel and the building to the right would have stood another powerhouse with a trio of steam powered turbo blowers, which augmented the gas powered blowing engines, which still stand inside the building in the right of the image. The turbo blowers have been dismantled, with only the rotating elements being preserved. Those components are in storage in the gas blowing engine house. The buildings housing the AC engines, turbo blowers, and gas blowing engines were all once connected. However, the former two buildings were demolished by Bethlehem Steel in the late 1990s, leaving the gas blowing engine house standing alone.

- information provided by the National Museum of Industrial History

Photograph taken in 2009 at the abandoned Bethlehem Steel complex in Bethlehem PA by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America. The Bethlehem Steel site has since been incorporated into the Steel Stacks and Sands Casino.

Also in: Bethlehem Steel

Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | The Way It Used to Be
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Steampunk Cylinder
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Rust and Weeds
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Hoover-Mason Trestle
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | when they left
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) |such a blank, uncompromising shutdown
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | bittersweet recollection
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | into funereal stillness
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Gas Blowing Room Ladder
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Hanging Lockers
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Hanging Locker Detail
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Gas Blowing Engines
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Extinguisher Silhouette
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Gas Blowing Engine Detail
Bethlehem Steel (Bethlehem, PA) | Stark Shadows


Photo comment By Mike Gallagher: Owned a Marina on Rock Creek. Love this picture because I believe this is what I saw every dark night across the way. Is this Baltimore, Sparrows Point plant? if so I need to buy it. Dad and uncle retired very well off from there.

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