United States Steel Corp.

United States Steel Corporation, more commonly known simply as U.S. Steel, is one of the ten largest steel producers in the world, and its diversified structure includes the operations of steel forging, coal mining, rail transport and real estate. Between 1991 and 2001 the corporation was known as USX Corporation; this company’s shareholders broke away eventually and today U.S. Steel remains one of the most familiar names in mass scale metal fabrication.

U.S. Steel was founded in 1901 by J.P. Morgan and attorney Elbert H. Gary, combining the assets of Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Steel Company with Federal Steel Company and National Steel Company. Because of the convenient location of the city of Pittsburgh at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, coal and other supplies could be transported to the area with ease, and in very little time U.S. Steel was the largest iron and steel production facility in the nation.

Although history shows a lack of general efficiency within the company’s operation, its sheer size made it a familiar name to the world’s population. At the peak of its operating heyday during World War II, U.S. Steel employed over 300,000 workers and turned out over 35 million tons of steel annually. In later years the corporation suffered through a series of civil actions and government attempts to break its monopoly on the steel producing industry. Even so, the company began to diversify and acquire the holdings of other major firms, including Marathon Oil and Texas Oil and Gas.

Currently U.S. Steel produces mostly flat-rolled and tube steel for the construction industry, employing about 42,000 workers at facilities around the United States, as well as production plants in Canada, Slovakia, and Serbia. The company was responsible for construction of the Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, has sponsored numerous television programs, and opened an ultra-modern training facility for its employees in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, in 2008.

Asbestos is a fibrous type of silicate, which has excellent heat insulation properties and is very inexpensive to mine. Over the past century it was perhaps the most commonly used insulation material used in commercial manufacturing plants where extreme temperatures are of concern. This was especially true at U.S. Steel’s foundry locations, where workers are constantly exposed to hot boilers, molten ore kettles, and superheated steel plates. Protective clothing was filled with asbestos for the protection of employees, and the fibers were incorporated into the walls and ceilings of the buildings themselves. By the 1970s, asbestos was finally considered too dangerous and U.S. Steel and other companies began removing it from their manufacturing locations. Mesothelioma and certain lung cancers are caused by long-term exposure to asbestos fibers, and symptoms generally are not diagnosed for years after contact with asbestos.