Exothermic Hot Tops… The Story Continues

Republic Steel had hired Dick Simmons, a bright metallurgist from MIT. Dick called me and requested a hot top for a consumable electrode mold. It was a new business for them and they wanted to run a trial ingot the following week. The mold extended several feet above the pouring platform and presented an extreme hazard if the hot top should leak or break and allow the molten steel to burn men working on the pouring platform. We worked oner the weekend designing and building the hot top with sheet steel. As delivered the first of the week, the design was an immediate success and the product quite profitable for WG. A decade later, I was visiting the melt shop and noticed the same design in use. Jesting, I remarked, “Continuous improvement programs should surely have improved this product in 10 years.”

Lining our insulating clay hot top with an exothermic lining developed another very successful product. This 5 percent volume hot top replaced 5 percent volume gas hot tops at Allegheny-Ludlum Steel Company. Bob Hobbler from WG and Mr. Hackett from Al-Lud worked together on the project. Later Mr. Hackett, a good friend of WG, died of cancer resulting from his work on the Manhattan Product (atomic bomb) during World War II. All the heroes were not in the armed forces.