Log In

Reset Password

Historic steel press finds new home

Another remnant of the city’s old manufacturing might has moved to join the growing collection at the National Museum of Industrial History.

The Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s historic bending press, long ensconced as a curiosity behind Wind Creek Casino, underwent a massive, weekslong operation, detaching and hauling all 350 tons of old-fashioned hydraulic steel-crunching power several hundred feet to a new display area.

Developed in England and completed in 1891, the Hammer and Press Building of Bethlehem Iron Company would help modernize the U.S. Navy, bending huge armor plates for vessels such as the U.S.S. Maine, U.S.S. Texas and Admiral George Dewey’s flagship U.S.S. Olympia, famed for its actions at the Battle of Manila Bay.

The press was cut free of its 18-inch pylons using a daimond-coated wire saw, and was raised, moved, and placed onto a vehicle for transportation to its new home, which took place this week. The press can be viewed outside the NMIH building on Third Street.

A worker for A&A Machinery Moving and Sales company from Morrisville adjusts the heavy hydraulic gantry as they prepare to move the most visible part of the giant steel press, called the crown, which itself weighs about 210 tons.
PRESS PHOTOS BY NATE JASTRZEMSKI Workers guide efforts to rig a wire rope sling under the massive steam press crown Friday. It was lifted inches, rolled down the track and lowered onto a 10-axle truck for transportation.
A&A Business Manager Tony Cygan explains the initial process, saying they are wrapping the crown with thick steel wires, forming a cradle in a basket configuration, to gently haul it upward. “It's a very difficult piece to figure out, to do right. It was challenging.”