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70 ton Empire-Detroit Steel #103

New Boston coke plant

The Wait Factory after the fire

The Wait-Fuller Furniture Company plant

Blast Furnace Louise Empire Detroit Steel in New Boston

Inside the Wheeling Steel plant at New Boston in 1907

Portsmouth steel mills

Whittaker-Glessner Company  1913 Flood View of New Boston Steel Plant

Wheeling Steel Corporation-Portsmouth Plant-Cafeteria Coin (Dr. Raymond Boothe Collection).

New Boston Steel early 1900's

Wheeling Steel Portsmouth Works Bomb Casing Inspectors at the Portsmouth Works 

Dr. Raymond Boothe Collection

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New Boston Steel early 1900's

      Bomb under construction at Portsmouth Wheeling Steel Corp., New Boston


New Boston was considered an ammunitions mecca during World War II. The Wheeling Steel Corporation manufactured some of the army’s largest orders of 250- and 500-lb. bombs, becoming the largest center of production for 500-lb. bombs. After the fall of Germany, veterans of the war visited the plant to encourage the employees and to discourage absenteeism because the Pacific Theater was still going on.

From the Portsmouth Times

From the Portsmouth Times

From the Portsmouth Times

New Boston blast furnace Louise

Whittaker Glessner Steel Factory

The Whittaker Glessner Steel Factory became about because the Portsmouth Steel Company was in dire need of funds and a major overhaul. The Whitaker Iron Works and the Laughlin Nail Works joined with Portsmouth Steel in a major reorganization that was voted upon on February 2, 1915, which resulted in a unified company named Whitaker-Glessner  with W.L. Glessner president. During the reign of the Whitaker-Glessner Company, seven 60-ton open hearth furnaces with a capacity of 200,000 tons a year were constructed, along with a blooming department, where ingots were heated and rolled into bars, a large machine shop, gas producing plant to supply heat to the furnaces, and electric light and power plants. In early 1914, a steel bar mill was built, followed by the dismantling of the plate mill in December. A coke plant was completed in 1916 followed by the “Old Susie” blast furnace in 1917 which had a capacity of 800 tons daily.(8) With the completion of the blast furnace, integration of the steel mill was complete. On June 21, 1920, the Whitaker-Glessner Company, LaBelle Iron Works, and the Wheeling Steel and Iron Company combined to form the Wheeling Steel Corporation. Originally organized in 1875, Whitaker-Glessner owned a sheet-bar mill in Portsmouth as well as sheet and tin mills in Wheeling and sheet mills in Martins Ferry. Alexander Glass was appointed chairman and I.M. Scott was named president of the newly-formed Wheeling Steel Corporation, which was capitalized at $100 million. The merger made good business sense. Whitaker-Glessner shared with Wheeling Steel and Iron the handicap of having to go outside their own processing facilities for raw material. On the other hand, LaBelle Iron Works had in abundance what the other two companies lacked: important raw material resources in the area of coal and ore properties, along with its own blast furnaces, open-hearth furnace, and modern coke byproduct facilities.


New Boston Steel Mill & Millbrook Lake

Portsmouth Breece Mf Co. located in New Boston made Rims and Spokes

Paul Claxton photo of Empire Steel in New Boston

 The Wait-Fuller Furniture Company plant 1910 located in New Boston The Wait Furniture Company was founded by John Heaton Wait in 1836 in the city of Portsmouth, Ohio. For the first fifteen years, he completed the work by hand. In 1842, it had become an industry. After the Civil War, his son, Gilbert D. Wait, Sr. joined the company. It then became known as J.H. Wait & Son. When John Heaton Wait retired from the firm it became known as the Wait Cabinet Works. It ran along for ten years under this name and then the firm was changed to the Wait Furniture Company in 1895, when the Wait Cabinet Works was sold to John and Ben Dillon. In 1907, Gilbert Wait and Andrew J. Fuller organized the Wait-Fuller Cabinet Company. This company remained in existence until 1911 when it was dissolved and its buildings taken over by Breece Veneer Company. They manufactured almost exclusively a veneer table top. In 1927, according to a newspaper article, "The Wait Furniture Company is a specialist, being engaged in making bedroom suites of high grade. It produces approximately 2,000 of these suites each year and they find a ready market in the eastern and central states. Up to date stores in the larger cities are the best customers. Large quantities of walnut, red gum and other high grade woods are used in the manufacture of furniture by this factory. Branches and sales offices are maintained in Grand Rapids, Michigan and New York City. The Portsmouth transportation facilities make possible prompt and direct shipments to markets throughout the eastern and central states. Catering to the class of trade that it does the Wait Company has expert designers constantly employed to work out original designs and keep well to the forefront of new ideas in the furniture world. The Wait Furniture Company is a strictly Portsmouth concern that has developed from small to large proportions and has won increasing recognition for itself in the national market. By December 1928, the Wait Furniture Company was closed.

Peebles Paving Brick Company in New Boston

Peebles Paving Brick Company in New Boston

photo by Tyrone Hemry taken in Huntington, WV  2013

New Boston, Ohio Industry

Portsmouth Peeples Paving Brick plant

"S. C. Peebles, vice president and general manager of the Peebles Paving Brick Company,Portsmouth, Ohio, resigned his position with that company to accept the office of general manager of the Ashland Iron and Milling Company and the Ashland Coal and Iron Railway Company, both of Ashland, Ky., to become effective March 1. Mr. Peebles will, however, still retain the office of vice president and director of the Peebles Brick Company. F. L. Manning, who needs no introduction to the brick manufacturing fraternity, having been actively connected with the Peebles company for a number of years, has been elected to succeed Mr. Peebles as general manager." 27 Feb 1917 Brick and Clay Record

From the Gay Nineties to the Roaring Twenties, the paving material of choice in American cities was brick, and the best brick for this purpose was called "vitrified block." These bricks were vitrified, or glass-like, because they were fired for long periods at extremely high temperatures, in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which caused the grains of clay to melt and consolidate into a dense, nearly indestructible mass. Vitrified blocks required special types of clay, and the best was a silica-rich material called shale, of which Ohio enjoys a natural abundance.