Tyler Too

Youngstown: An American Tragedy

By Gus Tyler

  • Print
  • Share Share

The story of Youngstown, Ohio, is the sad tale of a tragedy “made in America.”

Youngstown was once one of the greatest producers of steel in the world.

Today, it is a ghost town. It can no longer depend on its once thriving steel mills to provide employment for its people. In search of a livelihood, its erstwhile citizens have left for other areas in pursuit of jobs.

What happened?

As the world moved into the industrial revolution there was an ever-increasing demand for steel. Places like Youngstown responded. The method for producing steel was basically the same in all plants. Huge plants sprouted up all over the country. Their central feature was a super-heated furnace in which the mix of iron and coal and other ingredients was fed. The work was exhausting and dangerous and costly.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, came a bright young man who never won great fame and whose name seems to have been lost in the mists of history. His idea was simple: Reduce the ingredients needed to make steel to a liquid and then pour the liquid into desired forms. He approached several American steel companies with his idea. They turned him down. In part, they must have done so because they had made big investments in their plants and were not about to scrap the old plants for the new method.

The young man took his idea to Japan. The Japanese companies enthusiastically embraced the idea. They poured the liquid into molds and shipped the finished product into the American market. That was the beginning of the process that turned Youngstown into a ghost town.

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Economics

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Mark Strabala Thu. Aug 9, 2007

For more on the plight of Youngstow, read SWAP by Sam Moffie. At least he has some humour in what happened to this city.

Find us on Facebook!
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.