Armco was incorporated Dec. 2, 1899, as the American Rolling Mill Company under the leadership of George M. Verity. A Cincinnati firm -- seeking relief from exposure to Ohio River floods -- narrowed its search for a new location to two Ohio cities, Zanesville and Middletown, before selecting the latter. When based in Cincinnati, the business had been known first as the Sagendorf Iron Roofing and Corrugating Co., and later as the American Steel Roofing Co.
When it reorganized and moved to Middletown, it became the American Rolling Mill Company. Armco -- in unofficial use for years -- became the new corporate name in 1948. Ground was broken on a 12-acre site at Doty's Woods July 12, 1900, a festive day in Middletown as civic leaders envisioned its potential for boosting the city's economy. "In all, there were about 200 employed when the furnace was ready at January's end" in 1901, said Christy Borth in True Steel, The Story of George Matthew Verity and His Associates (1941). Borth said "on Feb. 21, the first sheet of steel made from this heat emerged at the end of the roll train; and, at the month's end, when the first sheets had been galvanized and fashioned into finished products, the men of the little mill could boast that they had participated in the world's first conversion of pig and scrap iron into finished building materials in one continuous operation." The first of a series of major expansions was announced by Verity in 1909, igniting a real estate boom in Middletown. "For the proposed expansion, Armco purchased four farms in Lemon Township abutting the corporation line, plus parts of three others," observed George Crout in Middletown U. S. A., All-America City (1960). "This gave them a site of over 400 acres for the new East Side Works" when ground was broken in March 1910. "Sept. 11, 1911, the first heat was poured at the new plant," said Crout. In 1923 another mill was built, incorporating some ideas John B. Tytus had learned in his father's paper mill. Tytus designed the continuous sheet rolling mill, which, said Crout, "today produces an unending ribbon of steel" and has "made possible the cheap, mass production of a wide range of modern appliances, automobiles and other items."
In June 1936, the Hamilton Iron and Steel Co. and the Hamilton Otto Coke Co., both located at New Miami, were acquired by Armco and usually called the Hamilton plant. The New Miami operation closed in December 1991 and its 100 employees were transferred to jobs in Middletown. The New Miami blast furnaces were demolished in March 1994. Armco moved its corporate headquarters from Middletown to Parsippany, N. J., in 1985. Effective May 13, 1989, the Butler County operations became part of Armco Steel Company L. P., a joint venture of Kawasaki Steel Corp. of Japan and Armco Inc.
In January 1994, Armco said its Middletown-based operation would be renamed AK Steel Holding Corp. (AK Steel Corp.) The new name was associated with a $737 million public stock and debt offering in April 1994. That move reduced Armco Inc.'s ownership of AK Steel to less than one percent. In May 1999, AK Steel announced it was acquiring Armco, its former parent company. That year AK Steel and Armco Inc. were reunited with the name of the off-spring surviving. In a 1999 press release, AK Steel said the combined company "produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets, as well as standard pipe and tubular steel products." It employed about 11,500 people in varied operations at Middletown, Coshocton, Dover, Mansfield, Warren and Zanesville in Ohio; Butler, Sharon and Wheatland, Pa.; Ashland, Ky.; Rockport, Ind.; and Houston, Texas.} (Also see Coke Otto.)