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Tapped Out (Paperback)

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5.13 (in)
7.75 (in)
1.00 (in)

When Bethlehem Steel left Lackawanna, NY, in 1982, it was the end of an era in America, a time of tumult that lasted most of the 20th century. This is the story of the rise and demise of Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna. In it, Michael D. Langan, who worked there from 1955 - 1963, writes about what the plant meant to him and to those he knew who saw it as a promise of work and a career. As a steelworker at Lackawanna's Bethlehem plant, Langan shared a part of the excitement of making steel. He was disappointed when the company disappeared from the scene about twenty years later. Bethlehem Steel, he says, was like the Cheshire cat -- cue its mischievous grin -- that, upon disappearing, left a gaping economic hole in the Western New York community. The open hearth, he writes, was a huge, fiery, dangerous, forbidding place. Every day he went to work, he thought about the odds of not coming home. It was a place of excitement, with the drama of a heat of steel tapping out, as well as the rough and tumble of learning the job with older, experienced men making steel. Tapped Out, the title of the book, is a phrase that takes on meaning beyond emptying a furnace of a heat of steel. The expression 'tapped out' comes from the third helper on a furnace 'tapping' the gong at the back of his furnace. It was a notice of impending alarm, made prior to the second helper actually 'tapping' the heat of steel. The alarm warned workers on the pit-side of the furnace of an explosion of metal that could shoot across the pit before settling into the ladle. In plain language, it meant, "Get your butt out of the way or get killed." 'Tapped Out' is also a phrase that means 'shot', 'beat-to-hell' and worn out. It was a phrase in the open hearth that had that extended meaning about life in general, suggesting there was nothing left to anticipate. In that sense, 'tapped out' describes Bethlehem Steel at the end of its days. Langan's hope is that his book gives insight into an industrial era in America now gone. As has been said, "The furnaces are cold, the forges silent." Is there any doubt that Bethlehem and its promise of a productive life for workers has 'tapped out'? This book is a testament and remembrance of the skills of those who toiled at the Bethlehem Lackawanna, New York plant.

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: WNY Wares (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932583491

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