Lukens Steel Co.: the longest continuously operating iron & steel mill in the U.S. (1810 - present day) ArcelorMittal
Rebecca Lukens is considered our country’s first female industrialist CEO. Although she inherited her position, she soon established herself as a leader in a once exclusively male industry.
In 1825, following the subsequent deaths of her father then her husband a year later, Rebecca Lukens (1794 - 1854) acquired her family’s ironworks. Lukens overcame much adversity, raising a family alone as a widow, while rescuing the mill from bankruptcy. She earned a reputation for making quality boiler plates (the pieces of iron that were bound together to create boilers for steam-driven equipment) and built it into a powerful force as an innovator in the industry.
She spent the next several years updating and renovating every aspect and facet of the mill, elevating its reputation to be one of the highest quality standards, bolstering it against a variety of future challenges, and ensuring its continued future success. In 1834, she expanded the business, opening a farm, warehouse, store, and freight agency at a nearby depot, making her the first woman in the United States to head multiple companies at once. During her tenure, she turned the then named Brandywine Iron Works & Nail Factory into one of the American Industrial Revolution’s most successful enterprises. The work of its mills was integral to the Transportation Revolution taking America by storm during much of the 19th century; with the boilerplates it produced used in the construction of ships and locomotives, and the track it produced contributing to the ever-expanding American railroad network.
More than 30 years after her death, Brandywine Iron and Nail became the publicly traded Lukens Iron and Steel. It struggled along like the rest of the American steel industry, until Bethlehem Steel acquired it in early 1998. Now owned by ArcelorMittal.
1915- Rare Lukens Steel Co.: Letterhead
Confirmation Letter to Joeseph Oats and Sons for 6 steel plates of tank quality. Two of the oldest, longest lasting Industrial businesses working together.
"Joseph Oat Corporation (originally Joseph Oat and Sons) is the oldest continuously operating industrial fabrication business in the United States. Founded in 1788 in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it was likely patronized by the U.S. founding fathers on their sojourns through narrow cobblestone streets. Started by Jesse Oat, the company sold copper works such as kettles and utensils, competing with other craftsmen including Paul Revere. Jesse’s son Joseph continued in his father’s footsteps adding brass and sheet-iron work to the product offering. Exquisite copper plates and lamps became the company’s forte. They also built stills, steam engine boilers, and pressure vessels for soda water bottlers." josephoats.com