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Industrialist Ralph C. Stiefel Sr. - Ellwood City PA

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Ralph C. Stiefel Sr. (1862-1938), a thoroughly educated man and brilliant engineer, was born in Switzerland in 1862. He spent about a dozen years working in France and England perfecting a revolutionary process he invented for making seamless steel tubing. (c1920)

Stiefel brought that revolutionary process with him when he came to Ellwood City in 1894, where he was appointed superintendent of the Ellwood Weldless Tube Company (Mill B site). Stiefel’s process made Ellwood City the seamless tube capital of the world and helped put the growing town on the industrial map. (c1905)

Stiefel left the company after it was absorbed under the Shelby Steel Tube Company in 1899. He helped form his own company – the Standard Seamless Tube Company (Mill A site show above) – the forerunner of the “Tube Mill” so vital to the history of Ellwood City. The company was soon bought out and became National Tube in 1901. National Tube and Shelby Tube were soon consolidated under the U.S. Steel banner and Stiefel served as the general superintendent of all nationwide plants. Stiefel was also involved with several other firms and was a leading citizen of Ellwood City for many years. Full Size

Stiefel was also involved with several other firms and was a leading citizen of Ellwood City for many years. Along with partner J. H. Nicholson he organized the Standard Engineering Company on Park Avenue in 1902. The company specialized in threading pipe made from steel and other metals. It was merged in 1926 to form the Aetna-Standard Engineering Company and became a major employer in Ellwood City for many years. Stiefel served with the company until he retired in 1936. Full Size

Stiefel married England-native Mary Bowen in 1895 and they settled into this home on Fountain Avenue/Pittsburgh Circle. They had two children named Ralph Jr. and Josephine. Ralph Stiefel Sr. passed away suddenly while staying at his summer home in St. Petersburg, Florida, in March 1938. Full Size


  1. As a former tubemaking engineer in Petrotub SA Roman (having 2 Stiefel Process mills and 1 Mannesmann Process mill), I knew that in 1935 year a romanian industrialist named Nicolae Malaxa went in US at Aetna Standard to meet Stiefel and to contract a 6 inches Stiefel Process mill-which started making tubes in Bucharest during 1938 year at Malaxa Works.
    So I am happy now to read about US places where Stiefel lived and creared his Stiefel Process mill.
    What I know about his european activity is that during 1889-1890 he learned from Mannesmann brothers in Remscheid and Bous / Germany the Mannesmann Process (pilger). Then, in 1891 he was sent in Mannesmann Landore works (Wales) for implementation of Mannesmann Process. After,in 1894 he emigrated in US where next year he invented rotary piercing-pretty similar to cross rolling piercing invented in 1886 by Mannesmann brothers.
    I was in Bous in october 1982 for training in Mannesmann Process, launched in Roman during 1983.Previous, in 1957 here was launched a 16inches Stiefel Process mill
    and then in 1977 a 6 inches Stiefel Process mill…


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