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The City of Pittsburgh (Harper's Magazine, December, 1880) - Page 57

a dozen with $2,000,000, and at least a dozen with $1,000,000. All these solid gentlemen are of the "self-made" order, and not a few rather glory in the fact that they have carried the lamp and swung the pick in their pre-millionaire days.

But it is as the City of Iron that Pittsburgh must go down into remotest futurity. She is the Smoky City only because of her forest of chimneys, whose tongues of flame speak of fires within that are boiling or melting the metal that gives the name to the age in which we live. Your true Pittsburgher glories in his city's name, in her wealth, and, generally speaking, in her dirt. Her densest smoke is incense in his nostrils, and his face brightens when in approaching the grimy burg of his nativity, his sights her nimbus of carbon from afar, or, after night-fall, her crown of fire, and the stranger soon learns to understand this feeling. The great Iron City's mills and her wonderful furnaces are inspiring to the fullest.
One-twelfth of all the pig-iron produced in the United States in wrested from the glistening ore by the furnaces of Pittsburgh and her immediate vicinity. In the matter of blast-furnaces her record dates back to 1792, when the primitive structure erected by George Anshutz sent its smoke into the clear sky, now darkened by the warm breath of fifteen huge furnaces, capable of producing half a million tons of pig-metal every year from the ores that comes from far and near. And to further prepare this metal—the first result of fire upon ore—there are in Pittsburgh thirty-five rolling-mills, wherein eight hundred boiling or puddling furnaces are seething like miniature volcanoes in constant eruption, and whose product is here fashioned into one-quarter of all the rolled iron made in the broad republic.
Ascending into the realm of steel—that perfected, purified form reached through these crucial boilings and meltings and hammerings—Pittsburgh claims, with pardonable pride, sixteen enormous establishments devoted to making all manner of steel, including the finest grades of "tool" steel,
until lately supplied by the English manufacturers. In this Pittsburgh excels, and makes two-thirds of all the crucible steel produced in this country.
In these statistics there is, perforce, much dryness, save for the Pittsburgher. But in the creating of steel there is evolved such novel beauty as makes the sooty interior of a Pittsburgh steel-works a feast to the dullest eye. Visit, for instance, some of the largest and most representative establishments. In one of these electricity has recently been introduced to illuminate the works. Here, after night-fall, the livid light of thirty-two electric lamps gives the glare of the furnaces a gory hue.
A Blast-Furnace
The brawny forms of negro puddlers glow in the light of the pools of liquid metal they stir. In this labor they summon from space about the mill deepest shadows that wage a warring conflict with dazzling beams of light. Dante, in conceiving his "Inferno," must have had in mind just such a scene as is witnessed nightly in the crucible department of a Pittsburgh steel-works. Just below the surface of the floor are seen, amid lambent flames of glowing gas, the amphora-like outlines of the crucibles. These, composed of clay and plumbago, withstand a heat of 4000° Fahrenheit, and contain the molten steel that must be poured into waiting open-mouthed moulds. In the men assigned this labor human endurance seems certainly to have reached its limit. The steel-melter, grasping such a pair of tongs as might have been used upon St. Dunstan, steps directly over the fiery pit below,