A new book by steelworker and author Richard Sarver offers an insider’s look at some of the nearly forgotten history of Roanoke’s steel mill. Steel Dynamics, Incorporated – Roanoke Bar Division, formerly Roanoke Electric Steel, has been operating continuously since 1955. Roanoke’s Other Star explains how, in the early 1960s, this small steel mill achieved national recognition as a leader in the development of a new steelmaking technology.
In 1961 Roanoke Electric Steel entered into an agreement with the Babcock & Wilcox Company to purchase and install a revolutionary new type of machine that was guaranteed to increase productivity while lowering costs. At the time the equipment and the process it enabled were considered experimental and not completely reliable.
After some initial difficulties, this remarkable machine became operational and began producing a high quality product that was previously unavailable from steel manufacturers in the United States. The success of this bold venture marked the beginning of a new era in the domestic steel industry.
Roanoke’s Other Star features drawings and historic photographs. While the writing is clear and concise, it is heavily focused on industrial technology. The work is supported by a bibliography and cites historic patents, newspaper and magazine articles, and interviews as sources.