Rolling On: Two Hundred Years of Blair Iron and Steel

For almost a century, the Blair Strip Steel Company of New Castle, Pennsylvania, has made cold-rolled specialty steel beyond a world-class standard. George Blair and his son founded the company in 1923 to serve the burgeoning automobile market led by Ford’s Model T, but the story of the Blair family and their impact on American manufacturing began long before the Roaring Twenties. In the decades following the American Revolution, Blair innovators and entrepreneurs developed routes to transport iron from central Pennsylvania into the expanding West. In the early days of steel, industrialist and inventor Thomas Shoenberger Blair partnered with future steel magnate Andrew Carnegie to revolutionize railroad rails and become one of the most innovative steelmakers and progressive businessmen in Pittsburgh. Despite facing significant adversity throughout the twentieth century, including the decline of the American steel industry, Blair Strip Steel became one of the most successful steelmakers in the country and a beloved institution for its employees and community. On the shoulders of eight generations of Blair entrepreneurs, the company maintains its formula for small business success and continues to forge the future of material science.


“In this book, author Carlee Tressel Alson follows the trail of the Blairs from their arrival in the American colonies in the 1700s to Western Pennsylvania today. The Blairs were not unique in coming from Scotland to Pennsylvania, nor evolving from ironmakers to steelmakers, nor proving that hard work brings reward at many levels. But they are nearly unique in persevering as a company, so far, for eight amazing generations. . . . The current company is Blair Strip Steel in New Castle, Pennsylvania, now ninety-seven years old. It was preceded by many more entities along the way, as the Blair family continually reinvented itself to match the demands of the iron and steel markets of their time.”

—from the foreword by Bruce Kinney, Chairman and CEO of Blair Strip Steel