Cold Metal Products, Inc.

Headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, Cold Metal Products, Inc., was a business that processed intermediate steel in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The specialty of Cold Metal Products was flat-rolled steel processing, including sheet and strip steel for conventional or special applications. The steel was utilized in the manufacturing of numerous products including high-tolerance springs, tape measures and chain saw blades. The company also made products for the automotive industry. One of the company’s branch plants in Pointe Claire manufactured and distributed cold-rolled, hot-rolled and galvanized processed steel.

The process of cold rolling sheet steel is accomplished in a mill, and this process does not require the steel to be heated in furnaces or crucibles. Rather, the sheets are unwound and passed through mill stands or horizontal rolls. The sets of rollers make the strip of steel thinner and thinner until the desired thickness is achieved. During this process, the steel eventually becomes too hard, at which time it must be put through a process called “annealing,” which can involve certain workplace hazards including asbestos exposure.

Throughout the 1900s, asbestos was frequently used in power plants, factories, and other work sites. Asbestos was used by companies such as Cold Metal Products Inc., due to its electricity and heat resistant properties. Although the insulating strength of asbestos offered short-term protection to workers, the unknown hazards associated with its use affected these same individuals later, when they suffered from serious illnesses directly related to their asbestos exposure. One such disease is mesothelioma — a rare cancerous condition caused almost exclusively by inhaled asbestos fibers which embed themselves in the lining of the lungs. The latency period of the disease can be as long as fifty years after the initial asbestos exposure.

Cold Metal Products filed for bankruptcy on August 16, 2002, and returned to Youngstown in that same month for the purpose of preserving the capital that still remained. Staff and personnel were not laid off immediately, but rather returned to the Youngstown, Ohio office. To satisfy creditors, the company’s steel processing equipment, buildings and land were sold.  In 2006, the last of the company’s assets were sold and it was permanently dissolved.