Armco logo

1899: The American Rolling Mill Company was created to engage in the production of rolled steel, mainly for other manufacturers to use in their own products (1). The company had its roots in the American Steel Roofing Co., located in Cincinnati, and was managed by George M. Verity (2).

YouTube Video

Sam Ashworth talks about the industries that Armco has served throughout the century

1900: The company broke ground at Doty’s Grove in Middletown, Ohio (3).

1901: Armco officially opened in Middletown, Ohio (2).

1902: Reported sales of $281,181.22 for the first year of operations (3).

1903: Shipped first order of electrical steel to Westinghouse (3).

1904: Armco was one of the earliest Ohio companies to establish shop committee, which allowed workers to organize. Shop committees were predecessors to unionization (2).

1905: Joined the Cincinnati Stock Exchange. Also, purchased Zanesville Works, which was the first sign of growth (3).

1906: Declared the first dividend of 2.5 percent on common stock (3).

1908: Reduced Salaries in the wake of a nationwide slump in steel demand (3).

1910: Organized the first department in the steel industry devoted exclusively to research (3).

1911: Began operations at the new East Works in Middletown (3).

Original headquarters building in Middletown

1914: Began first foreign plant office in Brazil (3).

1915: Began to receive a flood of military orders from Russia, England and Holland (3).

1918: Began first full year of Armco coal mining starting in Fayette County, West Virginia (3).

1919: Armco Policies written by George Verity and management staff to guide men and women through the day-to-day conduct of business (4)

1920: Eight hour work day adopted, first in the steel business (4)

1921: Armco acquired Ashland Works (3). Armco employee, John Butler Tytus began developing a process for producing rolled steel that was much more efficient. The results allowed the company to produce 40,000 tons of steel per month instead of just 520 tons (2).

1922: Reported a loss of $2,408,973.00 for the previous year (3).

1923: The facility, dubbed Middletown Works, remained in operation into the 1990s as one of AK Steel's two principle production plants (1).

1924: John Butler Tytus's idea to roll steal in continuous ribbons is implemented in Ashland, KY (4) Clement Barnhorn is commisioned to create the Iron Man, a sculpture awarded to the safest factory first won by Ashland Works in the following year (6)

1927: Acquired the Columbia Steel Company, now known as Butler Works (3).

Sam Ashworth talks about retraction periods

1930: Acquired the Sheffield Steel Corporation (4)

1932: Produced the first stainless steel sheets to be processed by the continuous cold reduction method at Butler Works (3).

1933: Highway guard rail developed by Armco (6)

1934: Armco presents an all-steel house at the Chicago World Fair (6)

1937: Opened a new, larger research laboratory in Middletown (4)

Cover of "'Living' Research In Steel," published by Armco Steel 

1941: Incorporated Armco Drainage and Metal Products Inc.

1942: George M. Verity passed away (2).

The Sunday News Journal, a Middletown newspaper - an article that printed shortly after George Verity's death

1945: Acquired the Rustless Iron and Steel Corporation (3.)

1948: Changed name from “The American Rolling Mill Company” to “Armco Steel Corporation” (3).

1949: A new million dollar plant was completed. Broke ground for six open hearths at Middletown Works (3).

1950: Board of directors reaffirmed Armco Policies as the company's "constitution" (5)

1953: Fired up a new blast furnace at Middletown Works that cost $40 million (3).

The AK Steel production facilities in Middletown today

1957: Acquired the assets of Union Wire Rope Corporation in Kansan City, Missouri (3).

1958: Merged with National Supply, world’s largest manufacturer of oil and gas drilling and producing equipment (3).

1964: The Norton Blast Furnace was destroyed (3).

1967: Acquired Olympic Screw & Rivet Coporation of Downey, California (3).

1969: Acquired HITCO, a California based manufacturer of non-metallic materials (3). This led to the manufacturing of the skin of the Apollo Command Ship as well as the ascent and descent of Neil Armstrong (4).

1972: Organized the Armco Enterprise Group encompassing all of Armco’s non-steel activities (3).

1978: Armco Steel Corporation changed its name to Armco Inc., which more accurately reflected the company's few non-steel holdings that had been added. The original steel mill holdings, Middletown and Ashland Works, were placed in a newly-formed group called the Eastern Steel Division (1). The headquarters were located in Butler, Pennsylvania (2).

1985: The company then left its Ohio-based headquarters location and moved to New Jersey to serve the majority of its holdings and customers' needs (2).

End of the 1980s: The company was continuing to gain market share and increase annual sales. Sales figures were hovering near the $1 billion mark, and Armco began exploring options for future growth (2).

1989: Armco entered into a limited partnership with the Kawasaki Steel Corporation of Japan, merging portions of each company to form the Armco Steel Company, L.P (2).

Early 1990s: AK Steel Holding Corp. is born (2).

AK Steel research lab in Middletown


1. International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 19. St. James Press, 1998.

2. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio History Central: An Online Encyclopedia of Ohio History, American Rolling Mill Company

3. Robert W. Hawk, Armco Today: Seventy-fifth Anniversary Issue, (1975), 28-31

4. C. William Verity Jr. "Faith in Men: The Story of the Armco Steel Corporation" A speech given at the Newcomen Society and published in 1971.

5. Armco Steel Corp. ARMCO: Men and Steel: Highlights of our First Fifty Years