Wean United

Wean United was located in Youngstown, Ohio and manufactured equipment that was used to process and finish flat rolled steel.

Wean United was located in Youngstown, Ohio. It was a manufacturer of equipment that was used to process and finish flat rolled steel, steel and iron rolls, iron castings, coupling boxes, annealing bottoms and boxes and steam hydraulic forging presses. It was equipped to produce castings and rolls weighing up to 100 tons.

The lots occupied by Wean United were home to various industries throughout the years. The first was Hamilton Works, a small foundry and machine shop that was begun by Homer Hamilton in 1856. William Tod partnered with Hamilton to form the William Tod & Company in 1878, which constructed stationary steam engines for the iron and steel industry. Its most common models included blowing engines and reversing engines for blast furnaces and steel mills, municipal water-works pumping engines and gas engines from 500 H.P. to 5,000 H.P. In 1901, the William Tod & Company was succeeded by the William Tod Company that was incorporated with William Tod as president. Over time, its size expanded to 8.5 acres in size and grew from several hundred to nearly 600 employees, outputting nearly 7,000 tons of machinery each year.

The United Engineering & Foundry Company was founded as a stove foundry in 1849 under the name of Parmelee & Sawyer and then Ward Kay & Company along Oak Street. It began manufacturing rolling mill equipment, which continued under its successors: Ward, Booth & Miller and Booth, Miller & Company. On March 1, 1888, the Lloyd Booth Company was taken over by a corporation with a capital of $100,000, at which time the works located west of Market Street were begun.

It was followed with the organization of the United Engineering Company on July 1, 1901 with a capital stock of $5.5 million and $7.5 million in 1910. Flush wish cash, United Engineering became the largest manufacturer of rolling mill and steel-works equipment in the United States, and the largest producers of steel, chilled and grey iron rolls in the world. United constructed blooming mills and a rail mill for the Ohio Works of the Carnegie Steel Company, the blooming mill, rail mill and billet mills for the Bessemer department of the Republic Iron & Steel Company, the blooming mills, sheet, bar and billet mills for the new plant of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company and a continuous rail mill and five blooming mills for the Bethlehem Steel Company’s plant in Gary, Indiana.

In November 1916, United Engineering & Foundry Company acquired the William Tod Company.

In nearby Warren, the Wean Engineering Company was begun in 1929 by Raymond John Wean. Wean had rented a one-room office in the Second National Bank and began formulating ideas on new approaches to steel production, and soon filled an order of pack heating furnaces for the Empire Steel Corporation in Mansfield. By the end of its first year, Wean Engineering employed seven and expanded throughout the bank building. Wean Engineering later became Wean Manufacturing, Wean Equipment and then Wean Industries.

On December 15, 1971, Wean Industries acquired United Engineering & Foundry and became Wean United. Citing a depressed steel market, Wean United closed its Youngstown plant in 1982 and sold the property in 1985. Wean then sold its United Engineering unit in 1986 to avoid pension liabilities, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) took over United’s plan in 1991 when it had $65 million in unfunded liabilities. On July 20, 1993, Wean filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection, listing $21.4 million in assets and $43.1 million in liabilities. It sought to sell its 264,000 square-foot Youngstown plant to Danieli & C. SpA of Italy for $12 million with a requirement that the deal be completed by September 30. Danieli, which manufactured arc furnaces, continuous casters and other steel making equipment, intended to continue operating the plant, which employed 275.

In 2005, the complex was acquired by Gearmar Properties who leased out the buildings to various businesses, including Timken and Latrobe Steel. The last tenant, Youngstown Pipe and Supply, relocated to the former Cold Metal Products property in Campbell and Youngstown in 2011.

Armed with a Clean Ohio grant and matching city funds, a portion of Wean United was razed in December 2013. The remainder could be demolished in late 2014 if no tenant is found for the remainder of the complex.


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