The Stone Age had its cavepeople and thyroidal mammals, the Bronze Age its Hoplites and long poems, the Iron Age its hillforts and bog mummies. The Steel Age seldom gets its due. Oh, it overlaps with the Iron Age, there may not even be a Steel Age, really. Nonetheless, the Alloy That Could gave us the weapons and tools that boosted humanity toward our current whiz-bang Silicon Age and its parallel Celebrity Age and Expensive Coffee Age.

We don’t play favorites at UIP when it comes to ages or raw materials. But we have done our best to address the historical dis paid to steel. From earthmovers to musical instruments, we respect the frequently stainless alloy by advancing study and telling untold stories.

haycraftYellow Steel: The Story of the Earthmoving Equipment Industry, by William R. Haycraft
In Yellow Steel, the first overarching history of the earthmoving equipment industry, William Haycraft examines the tremendous increase in the scope of mining and construction projects, from the Suez Canal through the interstate highway system, made possible by innovations in earthmoving machinery.

Led by Cyrus McCormick’s invention in 1831 of a practical mechanical reaper, many of the builders of today’s massive earthmoving machines began as makers of reapers, plows, threshers, and combines. Haycraft traces the efforts of manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Allis-Chalmers, International Harvester, J. I. Case, Deere, and Massey-Ferguson to diversify from farm equipment to specialized earthmoving equipment and the important contributions of LeTourneau, Euclid, and others in meeting the needs of the construction and mining industries. He shows how postwar economic and political events, especially the creation of the interstate highway system, spurred the development of more powerful and more agile machines. He also relates the precipitous fall of several major American earthmoving machine companies and the rise of Japanese competitors in the early 1980s.

Extensively illustrated and packed with detailed information on both manufacturers and machines, Yellow Steel knits together the diverse stories of the many companies that created the earthmoving equipment industry—how they began, expanded, retooled, merged, succeeded, and sometimes failed. Their history, a step-by-step linking of need and invention, provides the foundation for virtually all modern transportation, construction, commerce, and industry.

reutterMaking Steel: Sparrows Point and the Rise and Ruin of American Industrial Might, by Mark Reutter
Making Steel chronicles the rise and fall of American steel by focusing on the fateful decisions made at the world’s once largest steel mill at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Mark Reutter examines the business, production, and daily lives of workers as corporate leaders became more interested in their own security and enrichment than in employees, community, or innovative technology.

This edition features 26 pages of photos, an author’s preface, and a new chapter on the devastating effects of Bethlehem Steel’s bankruptcy titled “The Discarded American Worker.”

stoneSacred Steel: Inside an African American Steel Guitar Tradition, by Robert L. Stone
The first in-depth look at a unique sacred music tradition, Sacred Steel follows the sound of steel guitar into the music-driven Pentecostal worship of two related churches: the House of God and the Church of the Living God. A rare outsider who has gained the trust of members and musicians inside the church, Robert L. Stone uses nearly two decades of research, interviews, and fieldwork to tell the story of a vibrant musical tradition that straddles sacred and secular contexts.

Most often identified with country and western bands, steel guitar is almost unheard of in African American churches–except for the House of God and the Church of the Living God, where it has been part of worship since the 1930s. Sacred Steel traces the tradition through four generations of musicians and in some two hundred churches extending across the country from Florida to California, Michigan to Alabama. Presenting detailed portraits of musical pioneers such as brothers Troman and Willie Eason and contemporary masters such as Chuck Campbell, Glenn Lee, and Robert Randolph, Stone expertly outlines the fundamental tensions between sacred steel musicians and church hierarchy.

In this thorough analysis of the tradition, Stone explores the function of the music in church meetings and its effect on the congregations. He also examines recent developments such as the growing number of female performers, the commercial appeal of the music, and younger musicians’ controversial move of the music from the church to secular contexts.

roseDuquesne and the Rise of Steel Unionism, by James D. Rose
Not all workers’ needs were served by the union. Focusing on the steel works at Duquesne, Pennsylvania, a linchpin of the old Carnegie Steel Company empire and then of U.S. Steel, James D. Rose demonstrates the pivotal role played by a nonunion form of employee representation usually dismissed as a flimsy front for management interests.

The early New Deal set in motion two versions of workplace representation that battled for supremacy: company-sponsored employee representation plans (ERPs) and independent trade unionism. At Duquesne, the cause of the unskilled, hourly workers, mostly eastern and southern Europeans as well as blacks, was taken up by the Fort Dukane Lodge of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers. For skilled tonnage workers and skilled tradesmen, mainly U.S.-born and of northern and western European extraction, ERPs offered a better solution. Initially little more than a crude antiunion device, ERPs matured from tools of the company into semi-independent, worker-led organizations.

Isolated from the union movement through the mid-1930s, ERP representatives and management nonetheless created a sophisticated bargaining structure that represented the shop-floor interests of the mill’s skilled workforce. Meanwhile, the Amalgamated gave way to the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, a professionalized and tightly organized affiliate of John L. Lewis’s CIO, that expended huge resources trying to gain companywide unionization. Even when the SWOC secured a collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Steel in 1937, however, the Union was still unable to sign up a majority of the workforce at Duquesne.

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