Atomic Awesome, Big Complicated Machines, Technostalgia

Mesta Memories #21: Sheet Mills and a Pickling Machine


 Today we’ll look at four types of inter-related rolling mills that produce steel sheets. A jobbing mill rolls steel sheets that range between 1/8″ and 1/2″ in thickness and then send the sheets to a furnace for annealing, producing “blue annealed sheets”. Some plate mills can produce light plates that overlap the output of jobbing mills, but the output of plate mills is not annealed, unlike the jobbing mill. The material sent to a jobbing mill is called “sheet bar” produced by a universal mill or a sheet bar mill and sent to the jobbing mill cold. A jobbing mill uses two-high stands, i.e. stands with two rollers, and consists of a stand with both rollers pinion driven, a roughing stand and a finishing stand.


Sheet mills take the cold sheet bar produced by jobbing mills and reduce its thickness to 13 gauge (3/32″) or less based on the customer’s specifications, and then coiled.


Tin plate mills produce thin steel sheet that may or may not be subsequently plated with tin or anything else, and the uncoated sheets are called black plate. Coated tin plate is used for things like cans and ends for the food industry, for example.


Cold mills are used for cold rolling tin plate. And then there is Mesta’s pickling machine. Pickling is the process of bathing steel in strong, hot acids to descale and clean it.



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

Mesta Memories #20: Wheel and Tire Mills

  • Number_Six

    I find the text here really interesting. It's proper modern business speak, without a trace of the previous century's snakeoil salesmanspeak. I wonder when that transition began…

  • The Professor

    Too many goddam board meetings, that's what.

  • CaptianNemo2001

    Acid can also be used to make ulta thin steel tubes for racing bicycles. They use acid to eat away at the metal because the tubes cannot be made thin enough by default. However this is not often done currently since titanium and carbon-fiber can be used to make an even lighter bike.

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