American Rolling Mill Company

From Ohio History Central

The American Rolling Mill Company (ARMCO) was founded by George Verity in Middletown, Ohio, in December 1899, and produced its first steel in 1901. At the time, Verity managed the American Steel Roofing Company in Cincinnati, and wanted to combine the two steel production processes by forming an integrated steel mill in order to produce a finished product. The community of Middletown convinced Verity to move the business from Cincinnati to Middletown. From the beginning, ARMCO produced rolled sheets of steel, although the original production process was difficult and labor intensive.

ARMCO is one of the earliest Ohio companies to establish a shop committee, predecessors to unions, which allowed workers to organize. The ARMCO shop committee was formed in 1904, not only making it one of the first companies in Ohio to take this step, but also one of the first in the nation.

In 1921, ARMCO employee John Butler Tytus developed a process for producing rolled steel that was much more efficient and used fewer workers. The sheet metal was rolled into large coils. The old process produced approximately 520 tons of steel per month, but the new process produced forty thousand tons per month. ARMCO experimented with this new process at a plant built in Ashland, Kentucky, but soon the company used the process at all of its facilities. Its innovations made ARMCO one of the most successful companies of its kind in the nation. Over time, ARMCO changed its name to Armco Steel Corporation, and then in 1978 Armco Steel Corporation became Armco Inc. Armco headquarters remained in Middletown until 1985, when it moved to New Jersey, and later Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In 1999, Armco Inc. merged with AK Steel Corporation. At the time of the merger, Armco employed approximately 5,700 employees and had plants in Butler, Pennsylvania, and Coshocton, Mansfield, and Zanesville, Ohio. Today, AK Steel Corporation's headquarters reside in West Chester Township in Butler County, Ohio.

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