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History of Bethlehem Steel
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Founded in 1857 in Bethlehem, PA, Bethlehem Steel was one of the largest steel producers and shipbuilding companies to ever exist in the United States. It is said that the rise and fall of the company over its almost 150-year history is a symbolic representation of America’s manufacturing leadership over the same time period. After a rocky first few years in existence due to the financial crisis of the 1850s, the company embarked on a series of firsts in the industry, building the first blast furnace and first rolling mill (used for manufacturing railroad rails on-site) in the early 1860s.
In the late 1880s and early 1890s, Bethlehem Steel benefited greatly from a U.S Navy initiative to rebuild its fleet with steel-hulled, steam-powered warships fortified with heavy artillery and armor. The company opened a subsidiary called the Bethlehem Steel Corporation Shipbuilding Division in 1905 to handle its new inflow of contracts. After the division’s headquarters moved to Massachusetts, the new company executed the Navy contract alongside another steel company after completing construction of the first heavy-forging plant in 1892. Decades later, the company was an instrumental part of the industrialization of the U.S. military in World War I and World War II, producing countless pieces of armor plating and ordinance to the armed forces.
In addition to being a major producer of ships, armor, and artillery for the military, Bethlehem also manufactured steel for the construction of multiple famous landmarks across the United States. The steel used to build the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, the George Washington Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and many more was produced by Bethlehem Steel.
Asbestos Use at Bethlehem Steel in Quincy, MA
Asbestos and products containing asbestos have been found in abundance at the Bethlehem Steel plant, as well as many others like it across the country. Having been built and operated prior to a time when the health risks of asbestos exposure were widely-known, asbestos was used in the building materials for the steel mill structures themselves, equipment used to produce steel, and other machinery used in day-to-day operations.
Most commonly in commercial buildings throughout the country, building products made with asbestos include cement, electrical wire, plumbing, and other pipes, tile flooring, and both interior and exterior insulation. Insulation containing asbestos was also used on a variety of machinery and equipment, such as furnaces and boilers, pumps, valves, gauges, and soot blowers. Asbestos woven into cloths and blankets had a variety of uses, including wrapping pipes, being used as a work surface to protect against heat and even patching torn work clothes. Oftentimes, these clothes would be ripped and torn by hand, providing countless opportunities for an incalculable number of asbestos fibers to be released into the air and inhaled. This type of work environment was a potential breeding ground for serious health issues over time, which included not only workers but their families, friends, and communities, who could have been exposed to asbestos fibers that were unknowingly carried home by the workers on their clothes and skin.
Bethlehem Steel Mesothelioma Trust Fund & Lawsuits
Despite having shuttered its operations due to bankruptcy in 2003, Bethlehem Steel and its successor companies have been subjected to over 400 individual lawsuits related to asbestos. Most notably, two separate legal victories against the company occurred in 2008 and 2010, awarding over $16 million in total.
Our Top-Rated Asbestos Attorneys Represent Bethlehem Steel Workers
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related illness due to asbestos exposure at Bethlehem Steel in Massachusetts, you need to speak with an experienced asbestos lawyer as soon as possible.
At Belluck & Fox, our nationally recognized mesothelioma attorneys have extensive experience fighting for families and workers exposed to asbestos. We are proud to have secured more than $1 billion in compensation for asbestos victims and their families.
We are ready to help you. Contact us today to set up a free consultation. A partner at our law firm will personally call you to talk about the details of your case and explain your legal options. Our law firm does not charge (any legal fees upfront and we do not get paid unless and until we secure compensation for you.