LTV Steel (Cleveland)

The consolidation of several companies formed LTV in 1969. LTV is an abbreviation for Ling-Temco-Vought, and was in operation as a conglomerate until 2000. At the peak of its success, LTV was the third largest steel producer in the United States, with manufacturing facilities in Chicago and Cleveland, as well as Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

James Ling operated an electrical contracting company in Dallas between 1947 and 1960, when he merged his company with the missile manufacturer Temco. Later the firm acquired Chance Vought Aerospace and began to expand their operation to include production of specialty vehicles and machine parts. Later purchases of the holding company for Braniff International Airlines, National Car Rental and J & L Steel brought LTV to the forefront of mega-conglomerate America.

After a 1971 anti-trust suit was settled, Ling left the company, and his replacement, Paul Thayer, reorganized the corporation as LTV International and focused primarily on the aerospace division. The LTV steel plants in Ohio and elsewhere began to produce primarily flat or rolled steel for use in the construction industry, and later the company bought Republic Steel in Cleveland along with Ohio Steel. From the 1970s until 2001, LTV produced an enormous amount of galvanized steel, specialty tin products, and electrical conduit.

With debts mounting and production in decline, LTV filed for bankruptcy in 2000. Its assets were acquired by Weirton Steel and this operation was merged with the International Steel Group. This purchase included some of LTV’s railroad holdings, including the Chicago Short Line Railway, Cuyahoga Valley Railway, and River Terminal Railway.

Because the conglomerate included an enormous steel production operation, LTV used asbestos in its mills and forging areas. This material was used extensively in areas where protection from extreme temperatures was required, but inhalation of asbestos can lead to a number of serious health complications, including mesothelioma. As buildings that used asbestos in their wallsceilings and pipe wraps began to age, the fibers were freed and became airborne, easily inhaled by plant workers. Although asbestos is no longer used in this manner, countless former employees of LTV Corporation’s steel manufacturing facilities may have suffered exposure and have not yet been diagnosed.