ASME-Landmark:Basic-Oxygen Steel Making Vessel


In 1934, Donald B. McLouth organized the McLouth Steel Corporation. By 1954, the corporation had to grow or die: As a small rerolling mill, it had to purchase its steel in a semi-finished state from other domestic mills. The strong demand for steel naturally dictated that these mills use their own capacity rather than sell it to a competitor.

By 1949, McLouth owned four 60 ton electric furnaces, which it had purchased from the Government as war surplus. For the first time, McLouth was making its own steel—but the electric furnaces still depended upon scrap metal. In 1952, company management decided to construct an integrated steel mill. At the time, two steel mills in Austria had been making steel by a top-blown oxygen converter, but these first European oxygen furnaces were too small to be of commercial value in this country. Seeing the opportunity there, the McLouth Steel Corporation invested in capacity for 500,000 tons of oxygen converter steel annually.

In this process, a water-cooled lance injected a jet of high-purity oxygen into the bath of molten iron. Various chemical reactions produced a quality low-nitrogen steel at a ton-per-hour rate nearly three times that of the open hearth furnace. The entire basic oxygen process program, as it was called, proceeded on a tentative schedule, subject to many changes as obstacles presented themselves from time to time. In late 1954, three 60 ton oxygen vessels were in place along with a plant capable of turning out oxygen 99.5% pure at the rate of 3.5 million cubic feet per day. See ASME website for more information