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The City of Pittsburgh (Harper's Magazine, December, 1880) - Page 62

View Corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, Pittsburgh [1880]

corner set apart for bright levers, presses one of these. Water, at a pressure of 300 pounds to the square inch, acting through suitable mechanism, tilts the huge converter to a horizontal position, permitting its "converted" contents to fall into a Brobdingnag ladle swung between a pair of twin cranes. Another shout, and the boy touches another lever in the gallery of levers, irreverently termed the "pulpit." The twin cranes lift the brimming fiery ladle between them as deftly as would a brace of country lasses carry an overfull pail of milk. Hand in hand these giants of iron,
whose muscles are of water as dense as quicksilver, convey the eight-ton ladle to the ingot moulds in waiting. Still another pull at the distant lever, and the ladle halts, while a valve below is opened. Lightened by one-fourth, the ladle moves on, and another ingot is cast. And so the work goes on. The converter, meanwhile, had been tilted back, and freshly charged once more. The blast roars again, the glorious shower of scintillating dazzling brilliancy leaps across the immense building, and the Titanic labor that rests not from Sabbath midnight until Saturday's midnight begins afresh. And while the new-born ingot is yet coral red, other cranes lay hold of it, and a brisk little locomotive winds in among the sparks and flames and din, tooting a warning as it speeds away with the ingots to the "blooming" and "rail" mill. At the latter place the ingot is attacked by ponderous machinery, and passed through successive processes, until it issues from the last pair of rolls a perfect steel rail for the foot of the iron horse.
From this rail mill there issued in March of the present year 9538 tons, or 1000 miles of finished steel rails—enough to band together in double lines the distant cities of New York and Pittsburgh.
And this is but a single one of Pittsburgh's wonderful workshops. To fittingly describe her acres of similar industries would fill a large volume. There are squares of great foundries, streets of machine-shops and locomotive-works and engine-making establishments, besides huge shops that send wrought-iron and steel bridges into the world, that furnish