Vic Didn’t Like You

Vic Didn’t Like You

Submitted by Don Shaffer

Vic was old school. Not like the rest of us younger guys on the second shift. He was old enough to be our father and we genuinely had little in common with the man except that we all worked on the same crew in the extrusion department at Werner Co., Greenville, PA.

Being of a more gentlemanly nature, Vic was a man of few words and even when he would try and be part of our conversations, he would often just shake his head and walk away; unless we happened to be talking about the weather. Continue reading


Michael Lewis: My Story is the American Story – But how patriotic is this…. Sparrows Point, MD another perspective from a shutdown mill…

Michael Lewis: My Story is the American Story – But how patriotic is this…. Sparrows Point, MD another perspective from a shutdown mill…


The year was 1927; two African American brothers from a rural area of North Carolina made a migratory journey north to seek work and a better life in the booming industries “up north.” These two brothers were Norman & Jack Nelson.  I am the grandson of Jack Nelson and great nephew of Norman Nelson. Continue reading

Chris MacLarion’s Ode to Sparrows Point

Blog Editors Note:  This piece was written by Chris MacLarion, a steelworker and union officer at the Sparrows Point Steel Mill in Baltimore, MD.  Sparrows Point once made the mightiest ships for our Navy and the highest skyscrapers for our cities.  Last year it was sold for scrap in a bankruptcy court, its salable assets gone, the rest being “scrapped out” down to bare earth.  This is one steelworkers heartfelt description of what that means emotionally…

Ode to Sparrows Point by Chris MacLarion

Sometimes saying I miss you just isn’t enough. You were more than a woman, more than a friend, more than a companion through good times and bad. You were a creature of your own, a life of your own0, with more passion inside of you than any man or woman could hope to understand. Continue reading

From Mark Musho’s Stories: 1st Day at the Mill


I was born and raised in a mill town just outside of Philadelphia.  The local steel plant was Fairless Works a US Steel facility that at the time of my hiring 1972, employed over 10,000 hourly workers.  As in many mill towns just about everyone worked there: my Father, uncles, cousins and neighbors.  When someone asked where you worked it was enough to say “the Mill”.  In our High School it was part of the career options, along with the Army and college when talking with a guidance counselor.  And as in many mill towns most of life revolved around the mill.  So, it was no great surprise that upon graduation from high school, I found myself on bus driving through the mill with 25 other newly hired employees.  Continue reading

by Al Cholger – On the Depression Jobs Programs

by Al Cholger – On the Depression Jobs Programs

Your post about the Depression survivors revived memories of older friends and family, who were shaped by the Depression in similar ways.
I spent 23 years in a National Gypsum Company mine and mill, beginning in 1976. Many of the members had hired in the 1930′s and most of the membership had hire dates in 1946. Continue reading

by Tom Mathews: Breaking Sand at Birdsboro Foundry

Tom Mathews: Breaking Sand at Birdsboro Foundry

birdsboro foundry

Ike…these are great stories and you have quite a recall….now you got me thinking back..

Going into the mill at 18 in 1956 I knew a lot of those depression era guys and some older ones as well.

My first boss on the labor gang in #1 foundry was a big black man, name of Elijah…known to everyone as “old Liza.” Continue reading

by George Calko – Getting Hired

George Calko – Getting Hired


The very first thought I had went I walked into the Mill for the first time was, “My Dad has been doing this for thirty years.”  The very first thing my Dad told me when I told him it was official that I was hired on was, “Don’t get hurt.”  Three words… And if anyone knows my Dad, they know that that was a mouthful.  Continue reading