Atomic Awesome, Big Complicated Machines, Technostalgia

Mesta Memories #20: Wheel and Tire Mills



When we think of steel wheels, we normally think of the one on our cars or trucks, but there are other kinds of steel wheels used in industry and heavy equipment. The easiest example I can think of are the steel wheel used to support and drive the treads on a bulldozer or a tank. We tend to think of the toothed wheel that drives the treads as a sprocket nowadays, but 100 years ago it was common to call them steel wheels, and I believe that it’s still a proper term in the industry, although I can’t prove it. Anyway, that’s basically the kinds of wheels that were made on the Mesta Wheel Mill, generally speaking.

The modern equivalent of the Steel Tire Mill would the ring rolling machines you see in forging operations. A common example of a steel tire is on a railroad wheelset, and you can also find them on certain kinds of excavating equipment.


Here is a video of a modern ring rolling machine:

[youtube width=”425″ height=”344″][/youtube]

All images are from the 1919 edition of “Plant and product of the Mesta Machine Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania“.

Other articles in this series:

Mesta Memories #10 – Gas Blowing Engines

Regarding the Images in “Mesta Memories”

Mesta Memories #11 – Steam Blowing Engines

Mesta Memories #12 – Gas Power Engines

Mesta Memories #13 – Una-Flow Engines

Mesta Memories #14 – Corliss Engines

Mesta Memories #15 – Reversing Engines

Mesta Memories #16 – Air Compressors and Barometric Condensers

Mesta Memories #17 – Blooming Mills

Mesta Memories #18 – Slabbing and Plate Mills

Mesta Memories #19 – Merchant, Bar and Structural Mills


  • CaptianNemo2001

    Note to self.

    Don't piss off the guy running the wheel rolling machine. You might regret it.

  • Be steel my heart! I never tire of these Mesta posts!

  • I wonder what the two bull gears on top of each side are for? The uppermost seems to be cut for a worm drive where the lower has straight teeth. I also wonder why the axis of the rolling operation is horizontal, I've only ever seen rings and wheels rolled as in the video. How do they keep it from collapsing under its own weight?