LTV Steel Company
Although it declared bankruptcy in 2001, the LTV Steel Company in Cleveland, Ohio was once the third-largest steel company in the United States, behind U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel. The company concentrated on supplying the automotive, appliance, and electrical industries.
LTV Steel's specialty was a line of hot rolled and cold rolled sheet metal, along with various galvanized and tin products. The company also manufactured fabricated products, such as pipes, conduits, and other tubular products for use in the agriculture, gas and oil, construction, and transportation industries.
The LTV Corporation started out in Dallas in 1947 as a small electrical construction contractor. Throughout the 1950s the company expanded through mergers and acquisitions, and in 1961 renamed itself as Ling-Temco-Vought. Continuing to expand, in 1968 the company purchased a controlling interest in a Pittsburgh steel company called Jones & Laughlin Steel. This company owned the Ohio Steel plant on the west side of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, which now came under Ling ownership.
In the 1970s, Ling-Temco-Vought renamed itself again, this time as LTV Corporation. In 1984 Jones & Laughlin (owned by LTV) merged with Republic Steel of Cleveland and formed LTV Steel. The following year, LTV began to sell off its non-steel companies and other assets. In 1986, LTV filed for bankruptcy and reorganization. LTV sold the rest of its non-steel assets and began selling older and less-productive steel mills.
The company began to pay off its debts using revenues from the two main steel plants it retained, the Cleveland Works mill and the Indiana Harbor Works in East Chicago, Indiana. Between 1994 and 1998, the parent company was healthy and profitable, but then the losses began to mount again, this time caused by a flood of cheaper imported foreign steel. LTV took on more debt purchasing steel tube-producing companies. Losses continued, and at the end of 2000 the company declared bankruptcy. In December of 2001, the company ceased operations.
In early 2002, LTV sold its steel plants in Cleveland and East Chicago to a private group of investors who formed the International Steel Group (ISG) and reopened the two plants, in partnership with AK Steel. The Cleveland Works steel plant is doing well and continues a tradition of over 130 years of steel production in Cleveland.
Like at other steel mills, workers at LTV Steel were at risk for exposure to asbestos and other cancer-causing agents. Asbestos was commonly used in steel mills because of its strength, flexibility, and heat- and fire-resistant properties. Asbestos could commonly be found in pipes, furnaces, boilers, smelters, and ladles. In addition, the very safety clothes worn by workers to protect themselves from molten steel spills and splashes was usually made of asbestos, including masks, gloves, hats, pants, and aprons. Various protective blankets handled by workers were also often made of asbestos. Prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung diseases such as mesothelioma.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.