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United Engineering & Foundry/Mesta Machine - New Castle PA

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In 1942 the Pittsburgh-based United Engineering & Foundry Company built a $22 million plant along Moravia Street in New Castle that was paid for and owned by the federal government. The well-known company was a leader in making heavy castings to support the steel-making industry. The plant closed in December 1954 as United Engineering and the U.S. government could not work out a new lease agreement. In April 1956 the plant was auctioned off and purchased by the Mesta Machine Company of Pittsburgh. Mesta Machine, which also made heavy equipment for steel-making plants, operated the facility until it closed due to financial hardships in 1982. The Ellwood City Forge Company and the Swedish steelmaker Uddeholm Tooling jointly purchased portions of the former United/Mesta plant and opened a new steel ingot-making plant, now known as Ellwood Quality Steels, at the location in late 1985. (c1946) Full Size

New Castle plant initially made war industry items – such as large-caliber artillery shells – but soon realigned to begin making heavy duty castings (such as those shown above) used in steel plants and steel equipment manufacturing facilities around the world. (c1946) Full Size

This massive casting, made for the Ajax Manufacturing Company in Cleveland in late 1946, weighed 472,000 pounds and at that time was the largest metal casting the world had ever seen. Just making the pattern took 2,500 man-hours and the casting itself took over three months to complete. It was destined to be the frame as part of a massive forge press at the Ajax plant. (Jan 1947) Full Size

When the casting was shipped in January 1947 it had to be loaded aboard a special 90-foot-long flatbed freight car with extra wheels at each end. (Jan 1947)

A locomotive pulled the special freight car, seperated by several empty cars, along a carefully selected route to avoid bridges and other potential obstacles wherever possible. The train only traveled during daylight hours and was limited to ten miles per hour. (Jan 1947)

Proud company executives inspect the casting as it prepares to leave the New Castle plant bound for Cleveland. (Jan 1947)

I believe this nineteen-foot-tall casting, which weighed 320,000 pounds, was made for the National Tube Company plant in Lorain, Ohio, in late 1947. (Dec 1947)

Another view of the 320,000-pound casting completed in late 1947. (Dec 1947)


  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPjVSryWC1A Mesta and United forging presses are still in use in Cleveland!

  2. gostaria de receber galeria de fotos de equipamentos da mesta machine,pois trabalhei 20 anos na CSN onde havia muitos equipamento da mesta .
    no laminador desbastador e na laminação a quente.
    na minha epoca não se podia fotografar nada ,era epoca do regime militar na decada de 1970

  3. I did not know that United built the Mesta plant. I worked for United in the Youngstown Engineering Office from 1967 to 1970.
    Things were very slow so I quit and returned to college to finish my degree. I returned and worked for Wean United in 1973. In 1974 I accepted a job with Kaiser Aluminum at the Trentwood Plant in spokane. United also built that plant for the Government war effort in 1943. All the rolling mills were united.
    I don’t understand how this company was allowed to go out of business!!

    Great memories and great people to work with!

  4. My father, Joseph Dean Morris, worked at both United and Mesta as a machinist until his layoff in the early 70’s when the steel industry was starting to decline in the rust belt. In between United and Mesta he worked a t a plant in Elwood city, I think

  5. I worked at the New Castle Mesta Machine plant for five years until they went on strike in 1969. It was a great place to work, I started out as a chip puller and worked up to a turret lathe operator running an Libby lathe with a 3 foot dia. chuck. The knowledge I gained working there helped mold my machining lifetime both as a machinist then onto a cnc programmer.

  6. When i got out of the Navy in 1965 i went to work at Mesta Machine in New Castle as a helper on big planers. Within a short time i was promoted to planer operater on a small planer. I stayed there untiil the strike in 1969 i then went to work at Wean in warren Ohio until it got slow to the point we worked 2 days one week and 3 the nexr week. I picked up my tools and went to work in Portsmouth, VA at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. No strikes or layoffs.

  7. I was an apprentice at Mesta Machine @ Homestead PA. From August 1963 to August 1967. Went to Blawknox Foundry & Mill from Sept.1967 to Aug. 1974. Wean United Engeering in Aug. 1974. I retired from Danieli Wean United in June 2001 @ the age of 59.

  8. The company I work for, Jupiter Aluminum (based in Hammond Indiana) has two 48” rolling mills that were manufactured by United sometime in the 1930s or 1940s. It was originally a 4 stand work roll driven steel mill. They split it apart, and used two stands as our hot mill and two stands for our first cold mill. This was in the late 1980s. I currently operate the tandem cold mill, and have worked there for 15 years. The mill was originally a screw down type mill, and was fully computer upgraded with hydraulic roll force cylinders, automatic gauge control, and automatic shape control in 2006/7 when the cold mill department burned down at Jupiter. It’s our best running mill. We also have a 1954 5 stand 56” Dominion Engineering Works backup driven mill, of which two stands are installed as our second tandem cold mill. The other three stands and related equipment are in storage. It was purchased from DOFASCO in Canada. Our smallest mill is a 44” Cauffiel Machine Works single stand light gauge finishing mill.
    My United mill still has nameplates that say United Engineering and Foundry on it, and while I’ve searched i online for information, I haven’t been able to find much about the company.


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