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Making Steel c. 1960–1990

Electricity provided new ways to make steel. Brymbo’s first electric arc furnace was built in 1939. In 1956 GKN (Guest, Keen & Nettlefold Ltd., owners of Brymbo Steelworks) decided to build a new melting shop. The new works was built on a huge artificial plateau made of slag, the waste from the steelworks. People had to leave their homes in the Lodge to make way for this new development.

In 1961 a new cogging mill was installed to roll ingots up to 54 cwt (2750 kg) in weight compared to only 15cwt (765 kg) using the old mill.  After the construction of a new 70-ton electric arc furnace in 1972, the old 28” rolling mill was too slow to keep up.  So in 1976 GKN decided to build a new bar and billet mill.

Brymbo was the first steelworks to use oxygen for pre-refining blast furnace metal. © Wrexham Archives, WM210

This plant removed unwanted gases from the molten steel. Wrexham Archives, WM210, © Stewart Bale

Brymbo led the way in new methods, such as this ladle furnace, for improving the quality of steel. © Wrexham Archives, WM210

Teeming molten metal from a ladle into the ingot moulds, Wrexham Archives, WM246. © Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

Evan Jones inspects a mould prior to teeming. Wrexham Archives, WM246. © Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

The re-heating furnace prepares the ingots for the mill. Wrexham Heritage Services, 91.27.8. © Stewart Bale