People, price and productivity make America great, according to this hefty bolt produced by ARMCO. With its weight and gold-toned finish, it makes a handy paperweight, along with the ARMCO Steel engraved letter opener crafted from stainless steel rebar.
American Rolling Mill Co. (ARMCO) started in 1910 when company president George Verity developed the process of continually rolling steel, which transformed its production, making it more effective while costing less. The Middleton, Ohio foundry started its expansion in 1930 by purchasing the Sheffield Steel mill in Kansas City, which opened as the Kansas City Bolt & Nut Co. in 1888. Even after ARMCO greatly expanded the old Sheffield plant in 1945, most locals still referred to the location as “Sheffield Steel”, due to its location, in the working-class neighborhood along the Blue River.
During its peak production years, ARMCO was the 5th largest steel producer in America and one of the largest employers in the Kansas City area, with 4,500 employees. With multiple buildings sprawled across 52 acres, the furnaces blasted 24 hours a day, churning out nuts, bolts, railroad spikes, and other steel products to numerous to mention.
The steel industry in America took its first jolt in 1983, with competition from mills in China, which produced a cheaper, but not necessarily better product. Employees were laid off and workers left Kansas City looking for work in other cities. By 1993, ARMCO had officially shut its doors but was restructured as GS Technologies to produce industrial grinding balls, later it was renamed GST Steel. While producing a successful product, the company never re-grouped its start-up costs and shut down in 2001, laying off its final 750 employees.
Portions of the 52 acre site have become to home to new business, while vast sections are still vacant, a remainder of America’s great industries.