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1910's "weathering" steel?

1910's "weathering" steel?

I just toured an old foundry built around 1911 in the midwest.  It is riveted steel frames supporting a tectum type roof.  The structure has been many things over many years including abandoned and a paper mill. The roof leaks all over the place.  Based on everything I know about existing industrial structures, this steel should be in rough shape with severe corrosion and section loss. However, while there may be a bit of "mill scale" on the surface, the steel looks better than some new steel I have seen laying in puddles on job sites.  Even columns that have been hit by equipment over the years do not show any amount additional corrosion.  Does anyone know of a weathering steel from that era?  I know COR-TEN did not show up until the 50's or 60's.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

I don't believe weathering steel existing in 1910 - at least no on purpose.

It may be that you just have a lot of surface scaling but with not enough moisture present to significantly form an oxidation process.


RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

It might be copper bearing steel. Ive used it for pilings and i believe it goes back a long way in that use, but I don't know how far.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

Per the attach link US Steel started making Cor-Ten A in 1933.

Garth Dreger PE - AZ Phoenix area
As EOR's we should take the responsibility to design our structures to support the components we allow in our design per that industry standards.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

See the attached photo of the steel I am talking about.  As you can see from the roofing, there has been plenty of moisture present over the years.  The paint reminds me of an epoxy coating in that it seems to have a very strong bond to the steel.  But where this coating has failed I would expect the steel to be corroding extending beneath the coating.  We will probably take a coupon or four to get a definitive answer on what we are dealing with, but I was hoping someone might have come across something similar in the past.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

As these members were painted, it could just be that the superior corrosion resistance red lead primer in use back then has been demonstrated.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

swall is probably right - many structures of the era had very heavily loaded lead paint.  Actually worked quite well. I have seen it specified on many drawings.  Just don't lick them too often...

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

I should have thought of lead paint myself. We did substantial work on the Market-Frankford El in Philadelphia. That steel was clean except where the paint had been lost. It was expensive to remove the paint though on the pieces the architect wanted to keep.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

The only problem with the lead paint/primer theory is that areas where the paint has come off do not have corrosion either.  I would think the lead paint/primer would act much like epoxy coatings where the corrosion starts where there is a nick in the coating and travels beneath the coating.  I definitely think the paint/primer helped, but it is not the complete answer.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

Is the paint you are talking about that white stuff that is falling off the steel and also off the tectum and bulb tees?  That looks like it was sprayed on the whole roof soffit at some stage.  The "bare" steel looks like galvanizing, but it is hard to tell from the photos.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

Good are my ramblings...
Perhaps something in the structure has advertently or in-advertently served as a sacrificial anode?
Perhaps the original 1911 Roof was Wood-Tar Paper-Tar (See any pictures of an old Detriot Studebaker plant with it's roof caved in...) and at some stage was replaced/repaired with the Metal you are seeing.
Perhaps the processes inside the structure caused oil-based products to become airborn/evaporate and then condense/deposit on the ceiling...thus preserving it in this unusual way.
Perhaps the metal was high in Nickel?  (back in those days ..Vern didn't have to be as precise as our Metalugists now insist.)
I like the Cast Iron comment above as well.   I think that the fasteners will provide the best clues to date the install/type of product used.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

I didn't see the picture before. I have to agree with hokie. It looks galvanized.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

RE: 1910's "weathering" steel?

Or even a small amount of Cr in the steel.  0.25% will give pretty good atmospheric corrosion resistance.

Though I do like the theory of airborne hydrocarbons.  It sound feasible.  

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Plymouth Tube

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