The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh
(page 9 of 11)
By sean collier
images courtesy U.S. STEEL
The United States Steel Corporation isn’t just a brand that built Pittsburgh; it’s a brand that built America.
Landmarks, buildings and bridges from coast to coast have been constructed with the company’s products for more than a century. Created on the bones of seven previous companies (including Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Steel Company), U.S. Steel’s pedigree was impressive, containing investment and interest from some of the richest industrialists in the world; its success was immediate and enduring.
Diversification in the 1980s led to a name change, as U.S. Steel temporarily became a subsidiary of the larger USX corporation; a restructuring in the early 2000s did away with that brand, and the company’s facilities and landmarks in the area (such as the iconic U.S. Steel Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh) once again bear the U.S. Steel name.
And while the Steel City can’t boast the number of mills and steelworkers it did at one time, the company’s bustling Mon Valley Works operations in Clairton, Braddock and West Mifflin keep the region’s industrial heritage alive; between those facilities and the company’s headquarters and research centers, more than 4,000 people in the Pittsburgh area work for U.S. Steel.
At the time of its incorporation, U.S. Steel became the largest business enterprise in history. The years that followed saw manufacturing begin in Pittsburgh (above) and spread around the world and, much later, the construction of the company’s iconic headquarters (below, still under construction) Downtown.
- Upon its incorporation in 1901, U.S. Steel became the largest business enterprise in the history of the world. The new company was valued at $1.4 billion.
- It didn’t take long for U.S. Steel to start producing a staggering amount of steel. In its first full year of operation, the company was responsible for 67 percent of domestic steel output.
- A (very) partial list of structures that contain U.S. Steel: the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Rockefeller Center and the Chicago Picasso statue.
- U.S. Steel also can count three Emmy Awards among its accomplishments. The anthology series dubbed “The United States Steel Hour,” which showcased some of “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling’s early work, won statues in 1954 and ’55.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers logo is an adaptation of the Steelmark logo created by U.S. Steel in 1960. U.S. Steel eventually turned over the rights to the logo to the American Iron and Steel Institute; the Steelers petitioned the institute to allow them to change “Steel” to “Steelers” inside the emblem.
- When it was built, the U.S. Steel Tower, Downtown, was the tallest building between New York and Chicago, at 841 feet. U.S. Steel recently renewed its lease on the property and will remain headquartered Downtown through at least 2028.
“It was a very close, tight and important relationship, because Pittsburgh was built with steel. You look at the history of Pittsburgh and the history of U.S. Steel and how it came together with Carnegie and all those guys coming together to create U.S. Steel — and industrial America virtually having its beginning here in Pittsburgh. And a city of neighborhoods bringing in all of these people ... who all came here to Pittsburgh to work in the steel mills ... [a large percentage] of the steel in the world was made in Pittsburgh, and U.S. Steel was the No. 1 steel maker in the world. It was a family; it was a tight family. It’s still iconic ... It was a very tight and proud relationship, and it created a lot of jobs. My late brother Larry, his first job in public relations was working for U.S. Steel. They hired good people ... There’s never been a corporation quite as connected to Pittsburgh quite like U.S. Steel ... If you were talking to people out of town, it was partially because of the Steelers, but because of U.S. Steel, [Pittsburgh is known as] an industrial town. U.S. Steel being so tightly connected to us and the steelworkers — we like that tough, gritty, real-people feel. And we’re still proud of it.”
— Ray Werner, former creative director, Ketchum Communications; founder, Werner Chepelsky