Ken Kobus Collection, 1980-1990 AIS.2006.18

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Ken Kobus Collection
Creator
Kobus, Ken
Collection Number
AIS.2006.18
Date
1980-2008
Extent
5.0 linear feet (33 boxes)
Abstract
Ken Kobus is a retired engineer for the LTV Steel Corporation who worked in the steel industry for over 40 years. His collection includes photographic slides documenting the railroad and steel industry from Pennsylvania to Illinois taken during the 1980s and 2008s. Pittsburgh and world environments are documented through photographic slides. The collection also includes presentations used at lectures for historical groups, such as the Pennsylvania Railroad Historical Society, as well as supplementary material in the forms of photographic prints, negatives, VHS videos, and compact discs. Digital reproductions of the collection are available online.

Preferred Citation

Ken Kobus Collection, 1980-2008, AIS.2006.18, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Born March 19, 1948, Ken Kobus grew up in the working-class Pittsburgh neighborhood of the South Side, just eight blocks from the steel mill where his father and grandfather worked for the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company. Ken followed in their footsteps, also having a career in the steel industry for over 40 years. He is an avid photographer, amateur astronomer, and enthusiast of railroad and steel industry history. A published author, he has four books and numerous articles to his credit.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Ken Kobus Collection focuses on the changing nature of the railroad and steel industries during the post-industrial era of the 1980s and the early 1990s. The collection documents a geographical corridor from Pittsburgh to Chicago, with ConRail and the LTV Steel Company as the primary focus. Secondary points of interest include the Pennsylvania Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, Amtrak, and Union Switch and Signal companies. Presentations given by Ken Kobus on these industries and the changes they underwent remain complete and unchanged within the collection. The collection also includes material concerning city environments, boats, and rivers. The University of Pittsburgh environment is featured as a sampling of campus shots and football games while riverboats around the Point area and views of Downtown document the Pittsburgh environment. The collection is mainly comprised of photographic slide material, with a small accompaniment of photographic prints, photographic negatives, and other multimedia, including VHS tapes and digital photos on compact discs. A portion of the Kobus photographs were digitized and are accessible online at: http://historicpittsburgh.org/collection/ken-kobus-collection.

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Arrangement

The arrangement of the Ken Kobus Collection has been kept substantially in its original form. The processor derived the intellectual organization from the unprocessed physical organization of the collection.

Series I. Railroad Industry

Series II. River Boats

Series III. Steel Industry

Series IV. Pittsburgh Environs

Series V. Travel

Series VI. Presentations

Series VII. Photographic Prints and Negatives

Series VIII. Videocassettes

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, July 2009

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Custodial History note

Ken Kobus maintained these records until he donated them to the ASC in 2006.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ken Kobus in December 2006.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Robert Presutti, January 2007. The collection was physically reorganized and the finding aid revised by John Tomasicchio in June 2009.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the collection are available electronically at http://historicpittsburgh.org/collection/ken-kobus-collection.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Pennsy's Conemaugh Division: Pittsburgh to Johnstown and Oil City, Ken Kobus and Gary Rauch (2007).

Steel: the diary of a furnace worker, Charles R Walker and Ken Kobus (1999).

The Pennsylvania Railroad's Golden Triangle: main line panorama in the Pittsburgh area, Ken Kobus and Jack Consoli (1998).

The Pennsy in the steel city: 150 years of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Pittsburgh, Ken Kobus and Jack Consoli (1996).

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Amtrak.
  • ConRail.
  • CSX Transportation (Firm).
  • Erie Mining Company.
  • LTV Steel Company.
  • Pennsylvania Railroad.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Company.
  • Union Switch and Signal Company.
  • University of Pittsburgh.

Genre(s)

  • Color negatives
  • Color slides
  • Photo CDs
  • Photographs
  • VHS (TM)

Geographic Name(s)

  • Altoona (Pa.)
  • Blairsville (Pa.)
  • Cassandra (Pa.)
  • Chicago (Ill.)
  • Clairton (Pa.)
  • Conway (Pa.)
  • Cresson (Pa.)
  • Emsworth (Pa.)
  • Enola (Pa.)
  • Feather Rivers (Calif.)
  • Freedom (Pa.)
  • Gallitzin (Pa.)
  • Gary (Ind.)
  • Harrisburg (Pa.)
  • Homewood (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark (Pa.)
  • Johnstown (Cambria County, Pa.)
  • Leetstown (Pa.)
  • London (England)
  • Mexico
  • Midgrade (Pa.)
  • Mount Everest (China and Nepal)
  • New Brighton (Pa.)
  • Orlando (Fla.)
  • Pennsylvania Canal (Pa.)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)
  • Porter (Ind.)
  • Rochester (Pa.)
  • San Francisco (Calif.)
  • Shire Oaks (Pa.)
  • Southfork (Pa.)
  • Spruce Creek (Pa.)
  • Tunnel Hill (Pa.)
  • Wampum (Pa.)
  • Yosemite (Ind.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Kobus, Ken

Subject(s)

  • Architecture
  • Business and Industry
  • Canals
  • Carrie Furnace (Rankin, Pa.)
  • Railroad trains
  • Railroads
  • River boats
  • Rivers
  • Steel industry and trade
  • Transportation
  • Travel
  • University of Pittsburgh

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Previous Citation

Ken Kobus Collection, 1980-2008, AIS.2006.18, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Railroad Industry 

Scope and Contents note

The Railroad Industry Series includes a broad volume of photographic slides covering the daily workings of several major railway companies, including Amtrak, Pennsylvania Railroad, ConRail, Union Pacific, and Union Switch and Signal. These slides focus on companies, towns, railroad equipment, and rail yards. Several generic railroad sections, created independently and originally named Miscellaneous, are present. These sections contain a mix of topics pertaining to the railway industry, including trains, town environs, wrecks, and yards. The series dates from 1985 to 1992.

  BoxFolder
Midgrade, Pa.; Horse Shoe Curve, Pa.; Tunnel Hill, Pa. 11
  Folder
Tunnel Hill Pa.; Cresson, Pa.; Galitlen. Pa. 2
  Folder
Galitzen, Pa.; Southfork, Pa.; Cassandra, Pa.; Johnstown, Pa.; Spruce Creek to Cresson, Pa.; Spruce Creek, Pa.; Freedom, Pa. 3
  Folder
Freedom, Pa. 4
  Folder
Freedom, Pa.; Rochester, Pa. 5
  Folder
Rochester, Pa. 6
  BoxFolder
Leetstown, Pa., Conway, Pa. 21
  Folder
Conway, Pa.; Maintenance of Way and Special Loads in Conway, Pa. 02-03
  Folder
ConRail (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 04-05
  Folder
ConRail 6
  BoxFolder
ConRail and Emsworth, Pa. 31
  Folder
Emsworth, Pa.; Wampum, Pa; Homewood, Pa.; Harrisburg, Pa. 2
  Folder
Harrisburg, Pa.; Clairton, Pa.; Enola, Pa.; Shire Oaks, Pa.; New Brighton, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Altoona, Pa. 3
  BoxFolder
Amtrak (Indiana, Illinois) 401-03
  Folder
Altoona, Pa. 04-05
  Folder
Amtrak (Indiana, Illinois) and Union Pacific (Feather River, Ca.) 4
  Folder
UP (Feather River, Ca.); East Chicago, In.; Gary, In.; Corwith Yard (Chicago, Il.) 5
  Folder
Corwith Yard (Chicago, Il.); Railroad companies, Indiana and Illinois 6
  BoxFolder
Railroad 501-06
  BoxFolder
Railroad 601-02
  Folder
Railroad; Porter, Indiana 3
  Folder
Porter, Indiana 04-05
  Folder
Porter, Indiana; Amtrak 6
  BoxFolder
Amtrak 701-02
  Folder
Amtrak; Union Switch and Signal 3
  Folder
Union Switch and Signal 04-06
  Box
Altoona, Pa. 8
  Box
Conway Yard 9
  Box
Railroad 10
  Box
Conway Yard 11
  Box
Conway Yard 12
  Box
Conway/ Pittsburgh Railroad 13
  Box
Conway Yard 14
  Box
Conway Yard 15
  Box
Wrecks/ Derailments 16
  Box
Conway Yard 17
  Box
Conway Yard 18
  Box
Conway Yard 19
  Box
Conway Yard 20
  Box
Wrecks/ Railroad 21

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Series  II. River Boats 

Scope and Contents note

The River Boat Series contains photographic slides of river boats in Pittsburgh, mostly around the Point. The river boat section includes barges along the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny rivers as well as a small selection of stern-wheel boats.

  Box
River boats (Barges) 22
  Box
River boats (Barges and Stern-wheels) 23

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Series  III. Steel Industry 

Scope and Contents note

The Steel Industry Series includes photographic slides depicting industrial main areas during the last weeks of production at LTV Steel Company in Pittsburgh, the Carrie Furnaces, the Erie Mining Company (Minnesota), and the Pennsylvania Canal on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The steel mill images are interior shots of active industrial complexes with limited shots of facility employees.

  Box
Erie Mining 24
  Box
LTV Pittsburgh Steel Plant (Last week of operations); PAT Train; Carrie Furnace; Eliza Furnace 25
  Box
Steel 26

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Series  IV. Pittsburgh Environs 

Scope and Contents note

The Pittsburgh Environs Series includes photographic slides depicting University of Pittsburgh buildings, football games, and campus scenes. Also included in this series are slides that document the downtown Pittsburgh environment and the historic Pennsylvania Canal.

  BoxFolder
University of Pittsburgh versus Maryland, Phipps Conservatory, University of Pittsburgh Campus Views 271
  Folder
University of Pittsburgh Campus Views (1992) 2
  Folder
University of Pittsburgh versus Penn State 3
  Folder
Pennsylvania Canal (1987), Downtown Pittsburgh, Miscellaneous Pittsburgh Environs 4

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Series  V. Travel 

Scope and Contents note

The Travel Series contains slides relating to Ken Kobus’ various world travels. These slides depict buildings, historic landmarks, ruins, and natural surroundings that distinguish these assorted locations. Travel locations include London, Chicago, Philadelphia, the Kennedy Space Center, Ricketts Glen State Park, Mount Everest, Mexico, and Europe.

  Box
Travel Slides 28

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Series  VI. Presentations 

Scope and Contents note

The Presentations Series dates between 1985 and 1992 and includes complete photographic slide presentations assembled by Ken Kobus covering the steel industry and the railroad industry from different locations in the Pittsburgh to Chicago railroad transportation corridor and in San Francisco. The presentations were created for lectures provided to historical societies and industrial enthusiasts.

  BoxFolder
Presentation 1: Railroad Industry 2901-02
  Folder
Presentation 2: Railroad Industry 03-04
  Folder
Presentation 3: History of Coke-making 5
  Folder
Presentation 4 and 5: Railroad Industry; Brashear Telescope; History of Coke-making 6
  BoxFolder
Presentation 6: Railroad Industry 301
  Folder
Presentation 7: Railroad Industry and Railways Transportation 2
  Folder
Presentation 8: Pennsylvania Railroad 3
  Folder
Presentation 9: Steel Industry; Railroad Industry 4
  Folder
Presentation 10: Railroad Industry; Chicago Railway Fair 5
  Folder
Presentation 11: Railroad Industry 6
  BoxFolder
Presentation 12: Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad 311
  Folder
Presentation 13: Steel Industry 2
  Folder
Presentation 14: Steel Industry 3

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Series  VII. Photographic Prints and Negatives 

Scope and Contents note

The Photographic Prints and Negatives Series contains images and negatives relating to the railroad and steel industry as well as Ken Kobus’ lecture series. Prints include images of the Pennsylvania Canal from 1987, when Lock No. 4 was dug up on the North Side during construction of I-279 North. Also included are photographic prints of Ken Kobus’ lecture at the Heinz History Center and the dedication of the Clinton Furnace at Bessemer Court at Station Square as well as oversize photographic prints of the Pittsburgh LTV Steel plant and a Jones & Laughlin Steel Company locomotive. This series contains three photographic CDs, which contain digital photos pertaining to the Main Midwest Central Railroad, the Erie Mining Company images and Schnabel images.

  BoxFolder
Steel Industry Negatives 321
  Folder
Ken Kobus Lecture Negatives 2
  Folder
Riverboat/ Point Area Negatives 3
  Folder
ConRail/ Railroad Negatives 4
  Folder
Pennsylvania Station Prints 5
  Folder
Pennsylvania Canal Prints 6
  Folder
Ken Kobus Lecture Prints 7
  Folder
Special Railroad Prints / Postcards 8
  Folder
Riverboat Prints 9
  Folder
ConRail Locomotive Prints 10
  Folder
Clinton Furnace Dedication Prints 11
  Folder
LTV Steel Prints 12
  Folder
Image CDs 13

Folder 13 contains three Image CDs.

CD 01: Erie Mining Photos for Line Side: Dated September 28, 2005; contains 28 images in the JPEG format

CD 02: Schnabel Photos for Line Side: Dated September 28, 2005; contains 19 images in the JPEG format

CD 03: MCRR Photo Line Side: Dated September 28, 2005; contains 78 images in the JPEG format

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Series  VII. Videocassettes 

Scope and Contents note

The Videocassette Series is comprised of five promotional and instructional VHS tapes relating to the railroad and riverboat series. Included in this series are a Juniata/Hollidaysburg Remanufacturing Facilities promotional video, a ConRail general instructional video, a ConRail Electro-motive Diesel instructional video, a Gateway Clipper Fleet promotional video about charter services, and a LTV Steel promotional video.

  BoxVideo
“Building Tomorrow from Yesterday’s Resources,” Juniata/Hollidaysburg Remanufacturing Facilities 331
  Video
ConRail/EMD “SD80 MAC Operator Familiarization,” ConRail. “The New EL106-a” 2
  Video
Consolidated Rail Corporation “Roadrailer Familiarization and over the Road Troubleshooting” 3
  Video
“Excellence in the Making: We Guarantee It!” LTV Steel 4
  Video
Gateway Clipper Fleet Day and Night Charter Sales Tape 5

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