Utah's Iron and Steel Industries
Index For This Page
This page was last updated on November 6, 2018.
Iron Ore Mining
Iron Mountain -- Information about the history of iron ore mining in Utah, and the railroads that served it.
Utah Southern Railroad (of 2006) -- Information about the new railroad organized in 2006 to move iron ore from the re-opened mines at Iron Mountain; closed in 2011.
CML Railroad -- Information about the CML Railroad that replaced the Utah Southern in 2011; service suspended in October 2014.
Utah Iron Ore Corporation -- Information about one of the companies that mined the iron ore near Cedar City; unique because this company operated two Shay locomotives and two very early Vulcan gasoline locomotives.
Early Steel Industry In Utah
Silver Brothers, Steel Makers -- An article from 1912 about the first steel making in Utah.
"In 1915, anticipating World War I needs, the Utah Iron Ore and Steel Corporation, later the Utah Steel Corporation, was formed to build a small steel plant in Midvale, Utah, a short distance south of Salt Lake City. By this time the Los Angeles Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad had been completed which made the iron ore in Iron County easily accessible if needed. The steel plant survived solely on Government contracts, so when the war ended, the contracts ended as did the steel plant." ("The Magnet, Iron Ore In Iron County" by Graham D. MacDonald, 1991, page 14)
"The Utah Steel Corporation, Salt Lake City, Utah, is planning for extensive additions and improvements in its rolling mill department during the present year. The work will comprise the installation of an oil-heated continuous billet heating furnace to replace two coal-fired furnaces now in service. This furnace will be used for the finishing mills; a new motor-driven finishing mill and electric-operated overhead traveling crane of 5-ton capacity, and new hotbed for the 8-inch mill will be installed." (Blast Furnace and Steel Plant, February 1920, page 175, "News of the Plants")
Iron and Steel Manufacturing
U. S. Steel Geneva Works -- Information and locomotive rosters for U. S. Steel's Geneva Works, later operated by the independent Geneva Steel Corporation.
U. S. Steel - Columbia Steel Ironton Works -- Information and locomotive rosters for Columbia Steel's iron works at Ironton.
U. S. Steel Wellington Coal Wash plant -- Information and locomotive roster for U. S. Steel's coal washing plant near Wellington, Utah.
Defense Plant Corporation -- Information about the World War II era government program to expand the production of steel in Utah, including a new coal mine in Carbon County, additional iron ore mining capability in Iron County, and the Geneva steel plant.
Iron and Steel Foundry and Machine Companies -- Information about the foundries and machine shops in Utah, 1850 to 1950, that helped form Utah's industrial base.
The Magnet, Iron Ore In Iron County -- An excellent 75-page history of iron mining in Iron County, Utah; written and self-published in 1991 by Graham D. MacDonald, mining engineer and later General Superintendent of the U. S. Steel iron mining operations. (PDF; 76 pages; 16.3MB)
Iron Mountain Railroads -- A Google Map of the Iron Mountain area, showing the former Union Pacific Iron Mountain Branch.
Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co.
The site for a future cast iron pipe foundry and plant was inspected by James R. McWane of McWane Cast Iron Pipe Co., and negotiations were started for the formation of the company, and construction of the plant. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 18, 1926)
July 2, 1926
Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company was established in Utah on land adjacent to the site of Columbia Steel's Ironton plant. Land for the Pacific States site was purchased from the same Provo-Springville Holding Co. that had acquired a large parcel of property for the location of the iron plant, but which was not actually needed by them. The Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company was incorporated in Nevada on July 2, 1926, with L. F. Rains as president, who was also president of Columbia Steel. Construction of the plant had already started. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 3, 1926)
By early August 1926, erection of the steel buildings was started, with October 1st as the target date for completion. Construction was under the direction George E. Sibbetts, chief engineer of Columbia Steel, and manager of Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co. Sibbetts was also shown as vice president, treasurer and consulting attorney of the company when it was organized in early July. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 4, 1926; July 3, 1926)
During a late September 1926 visit by J. R. McWane to the Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe plant that was under construction, McWane is shown as being the president of the company, with George Sibbett as general manager and L. F. Rains as a director of the company. The planned completion date had been pushed to November. The first carload of equipment for the plant, made at the McWane plant in Birmingham, Alabama, had been received at the new Pacific States plant "ten days ago." Prior to the decision to open a plant in Utah, carload lots of pig iron and sand had been shipped to Birmingham to test the process. McWane held several patents for the manufacture of cast iron pipe, including the "forecaulked joint and the horizontal process of casting pipe." Before opening his own company, McWane had previously been president of American Cast Iron Pipe Co., also in Birmingham. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 26, 1926)
November 22, 1926
The first production of cast iron pipe took place at Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co. on Monday November 22, 1926. The cast iron pipes produced were 4-inch soil or sanitary pipe, five feet in length, using the process patented by J. R. McWane. There were a total of 80 employees at the time. Pacific Cast Iron Pipe used pig iron, foundry coke, and electrical power from the adjacent iron plant of Columbia Steel Corporation. Construction of the plant began on July 10th. Full production commenced in late December, and by early January, a full carload of cast iron sanitary pipe had been delivered to a local Salt Lake City plumbing distributor. The plant was constructed to supply cast iron pipe to the Intermountain and Pacific Coast regions, and several carloads had already been shipped to California. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 23, 1926; January 9, 1927)
In a brief review of the iron industry in Utah, it was reported that Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co. was a joint operation of McWane Cast Iron Pipe Co., and Columbia Steel Corporation. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 1926)
January 31, 1930
"Provo, Jan. 31 -- The U. S. Steel corporation's interest in the Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe company has been purchased by J. R. McWane, president of the latter company, and his associates. The amount involved was not announced. The Pacific States company was formed in May 1926, by the McWane Cast iron Pipe company and the Columbia Steel corporation. The company's plant is situated at Ironton and has a capacity output of 80 tons of cast iron pipe per day. The U. S. Steel corporation recently acquired the Columbia properties." (Ogden Standard Examiner, January 31, 1930)
As part of its continuing expansion, McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company formed McWane, Inc., as a corporate holding company to better manage and control its growing number of subsidiaries.
January 26, 2015
McWane Cast Iron Pipe Co., Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co., Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co., and Clow Water Systems were consolidated under the new name McWane Ductile. (McWane Ductile press release dated January 26, 2015)