Ohio History Journal

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Scientific Management and Welfare

Work in Early Twentieth Century

American Business: The Buckeye

Steel Castings Company




At 5 o'clock Tuesday afternoon the first heat was turned off from one of the

furnaces in the new works of the Buckeye Malleable Iron and Coupler

Company in South Columbus.... Someone gave a signal and in a minute

everyone in the building and out of it was on hand to watch the great crane

as it lifted the smoking ladle and carried it to the furnace. Then at a touch

the furnace itself slowly turned on its axis until the steel came pouring forth

in a stream of liquid fire amid a cloud of fiery spray. It was a beautiful sight,



With these vivid words a newspaper reporter described the en-

trance of the Buckeye Steel Castings Company of Columbus, Ohio,

into the steel age in 1902. On October 14 of that year the company

began producing steel castings.2 By this time Buckeye already had a

twenty-one year history, for the firm had started as a malleable iron

manufacturer in 1881. In its early years the company had difficulty

in carving out a market for its goods and had hovered on the brink of

failure for about a decade. In the 1890s, however, the corporation's

management saw the importance of what was then the growth in-

dustry of its day, American railroads, and Buckeye started making



Mansel G. Blackford is Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State Universi-

ty. This article is based on parts of chapters three and four of the author's Buckeye

International: Past to Present, 1881-1978, in preparation. The author wishes to thank

Lewis I. Day and other officers at Buckeye International for allowing him complete

access to corporate records, without any restrictions on writing. The author would

also like to thank Andrea Lentz for her research assistance in the preparation of this




1. Columbus, Citizen, Oct. 15, 1902.

2. The Buckeye Steel Castings Company later became part of Buckeye Interna-

tional, and Buckeye International merged with Worthington Industries in 1980.