The William J. Gaughan online collection contains 560 images of the Homestead Steel Works from 1886 through 1970 showing plant and community activity, machinery, workers, strikes, safety and accident concerns, and social activities. Employees are depicted on the job and participating in their family and community life. These images also contain images of World War II production, morale campaigns in the mill, and female employees during the war.
Images were selected for their rich visual documentation of the history and activities of US Steel holdings, particularly the mills of Homestead Steel, Carrie Furnace, and the Edgar Thomson Works. Images were chosen that represented all aspects of working in the steel industry: from the general laborer to management as well as the materials produced by the mills to the equipment used in the mills.
What’s in the entire collection
The collection, held by the Archives Service Center (ASC) at the University of Pittsburgh, comprises nearly twenty-one thousand photographic negatives, mostly 4" x 5" negatives, taken between 1890 and 1974. It also contains records of the Carnegie Steel Company/U.S. Steel Corporation, with the majority of the material in this collection specifically relating to activities at the Homestead Steel Works. The records date from the early years of the mill in 1887 to the closing of the Homestead Works Plant in 1988 and include plant operational floor plans and architectural drawings of plant buildings and machinery, company publications, reports, internal memoranda, negatives, photographic prints, and motion picture films.
The photographic prints in this collection consist primarily of 8" x 10" photographs produced from the aforementioned negatives, by either Carnegie Steel or U.S. Steel. Some prints in this series are the only copies available of images taken prior to 1941.
About William J. Gaughan
William J. Gaughan began employment at the United States Steel Corporation in 1947 as a laborer at Open-hearth Furnace No. 4. He was a graduate of Duquesne University and attended the University of Pittsburgh where he studied metallurgy. He later became an observer in the Homestead Steel Mill's metallurgical department.
Mr. Gaughan gained extensive management experience in the metallurgical division of Carnegie Steel Company/U.S. Steel Corporation before becoming a Senior Designer of Operations Planning and Control in 1967. This group developed operations-oriented computer systems. He held this position until retirement in 1983.
He became interested in the history of the Homestead Steel Works as a management trainee in the 1950s when he heard a lecture on the 1892 Homestead Steel Strike. With his interest piqued, he began to make an extensive effort to preserve the history of steel in Homestead by collecting photographs and other items of historical significance.