Wheeling Corrugating: Making Metalware of Merit, 1931
- from FORWARD WHEELING, July 1931, pg. 10-11, 16-17.
Making Metalware of Merit
A subsidiary of the Wheeling Steel Corporation, the Wheeling Corrugating Company, Wheeling, W. Va., has earned for itself a prominent place under the sun. It is the maker of the nationally known line of Wheeling Metalware which has the established quality distinction of being made of rust-resistant Cop-R-Loy and being Hand-Dipped in pure molten zinc. This line includes pails, tubs, ash and garbage cans, sprinkling cans, in fact a list too numerous to mention. Throughout the world the name Wheeling has become synonymous with the finest of these bonze, farm, factory and office essentials.
AN OUNCE of gold dust might lie unnoticed on a man's desk. Melt it into metal and cast it into a solid disc and its chances to be seen are improved. Stamp upon its face an eagle or the Goddess of Liberty and not only will it be noticed but nine chances out of ten everyone will want it.
In the same way eighteen pounds of iron ore amounts to little. But it has been taken from the earth by the expenditure of energy, —by horse-power through the medium of a great steam shovel. Coal and water have been consumed to develop the energy. A laborer or two and an expert operator of the shovel have likely sweated abundantly for that few handfuls of ore. And yet of itself there is but little intrinsic value.
Reduce the ore to iron; convert the iron to steel; refine and alloy the steel to impregnate it with sturdy resistance to wear and weather; then roll the metal into a sheet; stamp the sheet to a pattern and fabricate it into a strong ash can and you have a different story. Coat the can heavily with silvery spelter and place upon it the known mark of the maker and you have stamped the gold disc with the emblem of confidence, the identity of resources behind the product. This is, in brief, an account of what the Wheeling Corrugating Company does from mine to market. Except that the ash can is but one of hundreds of articles for which a little iron ore constitutes the virgin raw material.
The mark which the Wheeling Corrugating Company places upon a large line of zinc coated metalware has, therefore, considerable significance. It is not merely a red paper label of distinctive design costing a fraction of a cent but something of a document passed on to the eventual buyer of the product which stands as a pledge of quality. And behind the pledge is the reputation of the producer gained through forty-one years of continuous business conducted upon ethical lines to say nothing of the extensive tangible assets represented in plants and property.
Realizing the true significance of the company's name and its mark the sales and production departments of the Wheeling company have spared neither time nor expense in making Wheeling products live up to a standard set for them, a standard which has become something of an objective for which others continually strive. Manufacturing practice, sales and advertising operations have been so co-ordinated to the end that the public finds it not only inexpensive to buy Wheeling products but also convenient. The distribution of Wheeling Red Label Metalware compares very favorably with that of many other nationally advertised products of America, and it may be bought at the cross roads or on Main Street of every community.
The manufacture of Wheeling Red Label Metalware begins at the ore mines in the Mesabi Range far up in Minnesota. Here, ore chosen for its quality is taken from deep pits and started on its way to the blast furnaces in Wheeling owned ore boats. Down the lakes it comes to Cleveland where it is put into railroad cars for a short haul to the furnaces. Coal, from the finest seams in the country, comes from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia where Wheeling employees in Wheeling coal mines wrest the precious fuel from the earth.
The coal is taken to Coke Ovens where it is reduced to coke in economic and efficient by-product plants. Then it goes to the blast furnace where it is charged with the ore, providing fuel and aiding in the process of the reduction of iron ore to pig iron.
The pig iron, while still molten, is taken in giant ladle cars from the cast house of the blast furnace to the charging floor of the Open Hearth. Here the Pig Iron is refined. Constituents which are detrimental to steel for use in fabricating metalware are removed and others which through extensive laboratory tests have been found necessary, are added.
Before the steel is tapped from the Open Hearth Furnace it is innoculated with copper, for it must be remembered that Wheeling Metalware is made of Cop-R-Loy. This assures even longer life than would be the case were it only ordinary steel that formed the basis of the metalware.
From the ladle, the steel is poured into ingot molds, which are stripped from the ingots as soon as they have cooled suffciently. The ingots are next soaked in heated pits, rolled into blooms and later into sheet bars. This rolling is done on the Blooming and Bar mills.
The sheet bar is now cut into “pairs" and heated again so that it may be rolled into sheets on the hot mill. After going through the break-down rolls the "pairs" are re-heated and rolled back and forth through the finishing rolls until they are of the desired gauge.
It awes us to think how much equipment has been utilized even up to this point in the manufacture of metalware. Thousands of men have done their bit, millions of dollars worth of equipment has been used, and greatest of all perhaps is the fact that generations of accumulated experience in making steel have been rolled into a single sheet which is now ready to be fabricated. The gold dust is melted. The Cop-R-Loy sheets are ready to be made into pails, tubs, ash and garbage cans.
We could not begin to tell of all the various steps in the manufacture of the different kinds of Wheeling Red Label Metalware, within the limits of this article. Their number is myriad but their fabrication is similar; so, for the purpose of this article, we have chosen the fabrication of an Ash Can as typical of the whole line.
Photo 1 caption:
Wheeling Ash Cans made Of Cop-R-Loy and Hand-Dipped in Pure Molten Zinc are articles of "worth", made known by the addition Of the Wheeling Red Label.
As we enter the factory we see long lines of machinery and all sorts of metalware in every stage of fabrication. The noise made by presses clanging and trucks going from one machine to another is deafening.
After a little while, however, we begin to see order emerge from apparent chaos. We see that the machines are arranged in definite lines of production with the Cop-R-Loy sheets entering one end of the line and coming out the other end as formed pails, garbage cans, ash cans, rubbish burners, tubs or any other member of the Wheeling family.
In the ash can line the first step is the corrugation and formation of the sheet into a cylinder which will be the side wall of the can. The sheet, which of course has been sheared to the exact size, is fed into this machine where corrugations are pressed firmly into it. These will add strength and rigidity to the finished ash can. The corrugations only extend to within about two inches of the bottom and top, there being a band of steel left uncorrugated to which the tops and bottoms are attached.
Photo 2 caption:
After the Cop-R-Loy Sheet is cut to size it is fed into a machine which corrugates the sheet and curves it so that it will be the shape of the body wall.
After the side wall sheet has been corrugated it is moved along to the welder, where the seam is welded, and carefully inspected by a man whose only duty is to detect errors.
Photo 3 caption:
The seam is now welded by electric welding machines so that a leak-proof seam will be assured. After this process the seam is carefully inspected.
Here the fabricated ash can is first placed in an acid solution which cleans all dirt and grease from the surface of the metal. It is then washed clean in water. It is now ready to be hand-dipped in pure molten zinc.
Photo 4 Caption:
The ash can, being completely formed, is thoroughly inspected before it is pickled and Hand Dipped in Pure Molten Zinc.
So, it is put into a pot of pure molten zinc kept at an exact temperature by means of a special electrical control, where it is left just long enough to assure the coating of every part of the can. At this point experience again stands in good stead, for the length of time that the can may remain submerged in the zinc without having either too little or too much zinc adhere to the steel is a definite factor in the life of the ash can. When it has been in the zinc bath the right length of time a worker reaches in with tongs and pulls it slowly out, dripping molten zinc from its bright sides. Coming slowly out of the zinc bath the can looks as though it might be covered with silver. As it cools, however, the silver coating changes to “spangles" so characteristic of zinc coated products.
Photo 5 Caption:
Coming out of the pot of Pure Molten Zinc the sides of the ash can appear to be covered with pure silver.
The fact that the ash can is completely fabricated before it receives its coating of zinc is most important. The molten zinc enters every cranny and crack of the can and acts like a rust proof, leak proof, solder, adding strength, durability and pleasing appearance to the finished product.
Now the ash can, resplendent in its new coat of glittering spangles, is ready to be stamped with the mark of distinction, the Wheeling Red Label. Much will be expected of this ash can by the person who buys it, for advertising and sales effort have told this buyer that Wheeling ash cans are made better than the ordinary. Yet those who have a part in the making of this metalware, have no fear of failure on the part Of the product. Throughout the metamorphosis from iron ore to the finished Wheeling Red Label Ash Can, made of Cop-R-Loy and Hand Dipped in Pure Molten Zinc, there has been reliance upon but one organization, one group of men and one company in assuring a product which stands unequalled in its field. An ash can of "worth" made known by the addition of the Wheeling Red Label, has been made in Wheeling, by Wheeling people, by a Wheeling company and is now ready for the market, to be stocked at twelve warehouses of the company in principal cities from whence it moves to the retailers who serve Mr. and Mrs. American Buyer.
Photo 6 caption:
After the ash can has been completely fabricated and then Hand-Dipped in Pure Molten Zinc it is thoroughly inspected for any flaws. If it proves perfect it is ready for the market.