T C I & RR Co.

Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company

Capital Improvements and Corporate Development Timeline for TCI with selected parallel local  developments in the Birmingham District

1852 Sewanee Mining Company founded on Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
1860 Sewanee Mining Company reorganized as the Tennessee Coal and Railroad Company

Graphic of TCI Holdings in 1860

1863 John Milner's Red Mountain Iron Company builds blast furnace at Oxmoor in Shades Valley, Jefferson County, Alabama
1864 W. S. McIllwain builds Cahaba Iron Works near Irondale, Alabama
1871 Elyton Land Company incorporates new City of Birmingham at railroad junction of John Milner's North and South Railroad with the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad
1874 Tennessee Coal and Rail, purchases Sewanee Furnace Company; begins coke and iron manufacture in Tennessee.  Name changed to Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company
1878 Pratt Coal and Coke Company founded by Henry DeBardeleben, Truman Aldrich and James W. Sloss.  Pratt Company begins  6 mile rail line from mines to connection with the Alabama and Chattanooga and L&N Railroads.  This is predecessor of the Birmingham Southern Railroad
1881 Woodward Iron Company founded by William and Joseph Woodward.  Woodward develops industrial railroad, another forerunner of the Birmingham Southern RR.
1882 Tennessee Company acquires Southern States Coal, Iron and Land Co. of South Pittsburgh, Tennessee

Pratt Coal and Coke Company sold to Col. Enoch Ensley, from Memphis, TN.  Ensley also acquires the Alice Furnace and Linn Iron Works, located in downtown Birmingham

Sloss Furnace Company blows in City Furnaces, downtown Birmingham

Graphic of TCI Holdings in 1880

1886 Tennessee Coal Iron and Railroad Company, led by T. T. Hillman and John H. Inman purchase Pratt Coal and Iron Company from Enoch Ensley -- TCI comes to Birmingham District.  Ensley is first president of TCI
1886 DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company and town of Bessemer founded; Company buys Oxmoor furnace, land and coal mines and opens furnaces in Bessemer
1886 Town of Ensley, Alabama begins development
1887 James W. Sloss reorganizes Sloss Iron and Steel Co.
1888 Henderson Iron and Manufacturing Co. makes first "basic" steel in Birmingham from locally produced iron.  This and related developments enables steel industry to grow in Birmingham, and enables new basic furnaces rather than the Bessemer converter, which would not work with Birmingham iron ore due to the phosphorus content.
1889 Four blast furnaces at Ensley blown in -- 800 ton per day total capacity
1891 National financial depression underway
1892 TCI acquires Cahaba Coal Co, and DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company.  TCI becomes largest furnace operator in the South
1895 TCI transfers offices to Birmingham

TCI receives order for basic iron from northern steel company for manufacture of steel from Birmingham iron.  This paves the way for development of Birmingham steel industry.

1898 TCI introduces Semet-Solvay Company process and plant for coke by-products production
1899 TCI acquires Robinson and Smith mining companies
1891-1899 TCI researches and develops steel production using Birmingham District iron ore, which is high in phosphorous

10 open hearth furnaces completed at Ensley -- first 100 ton per day steel production achieved December 1, 1899 -- facilities are second largest in US

1900 TCI is operating 17 blast furnaces, second largest in US

TCI is operating 3256 beehive and 120 Semet-Solvay coke ovens, second in US

TCI is operating 15 red ore mines in Birmingham District

Graphic of TCI Holdings in 1899

1901 New leadership, under Don Bacon, starts aggressive capital improvements
1901 J. P. Morgan incorporates U.S. Steel from Carnegie and Federal steel empires
1902 Rail mill completed at Ensley -- rail is competitive in national market
1903 Gates group acquires Republic Steel and Sloss-Sheffield with Birmingham properties. Gates is vying with Morgan group's U.S. Steel in the marketplace
1903 TCI acquires Ketona and Dolcito quarries
1905 New leadership, under John Gates, associated with Moore and Schley brokerage house.  John Topping, from Republic installed as chairman
1907 Financial panic -- Moore and Schley threatened, Morgan responds with "public service" deal to acquire stock of TCI for U.S. Steel bonds
1907 U.S. Steel era begins with George Crawford presidency for next 22 years.  Capital expansion continues with growth as well as social reforms for company property and workers
1907 New steel facilities planned, Jemison Company starts planned town of Corey, Alabama for 15,000 planned employees.  Named for steel executive who later commits suicide, name is quickly changed to Fairfield.  (Explore TCI Fairfield Works)
1909-1912 New coke by-products plant begins at Fairfield -- 280 Koppers type ovens
1909 Pittsburgh Tariff levied by US Steel on all Birmingham District products to remove competitive edge for Birmingham compared to Pittsburgh
1909 Harbison Walker Refractories of Pittsburgh, completes plant at Fairfield to serve adjacent furnace industries
1910 TCI begins industrial water system; Edgewater coal mine work begun - opened in 1912
1910-1914 American Steel and Wire Company build plant at Fairfield
1912 Central power plant completed at Ensley, using by products gases to drive generators
1914 TCI begins ongoing facilities and programs to improve lives of employees with schools, hospitals, training programs and housing
1914 Plant for pulverizing and bagging mineral rich slag completed and material sold for agricultural purposes
1917 Fairfield Steel Works begun and Ensley facilities expanded.  Fairfield rolling mills produce ship materials for Chickasaw plants at Mobile for WW I
1920 Development of Birmingport facilities begun on Warrior River to provide "port" facilities for Birmingham; rail link developed between Fairfield and Birmingport
1921 Chickasaw Shipyard closed; Hamilton coal mine opens
1923 11-inch mill completed for merchant steel at Fairfield; mechanical loading equipment installed in red ore mines
1925 High Ore Line Railroad completed for direct rail connection from Red Mountain to the Fairfield Works.  Trains literally roll downhill from mine to mill
1925 Bayview Dam raised 15 feet to increase water supply
1925 4 open hearth furnaces added to Fairfield; previously Fairfield had been mills only and ingots were brought from Ensley by rail
1926 Mill completed for sheet products at Fairfield; 21-inch continuous sheet bar and billet mill; 4 additional open hearth furnaces added
1927 Alice Furnace shut down, 10th St. South, at junction of L&N and Southern RR's
1928 2 new Blast furnaces, No. 5 and 6 built at Fairfield (note: No. 1 through 4 were never built); 63 additional coke ovens built; bale tie and barrel hoop mill completed.  
1929 Oxmoor (2) and Bessemer (No.'s 1 and 2; No.'s 3 and 4 and No. 5) furnaces are dismantled
1929 Sloss City Furnaces rebuilt, equipment improved and general layout changed
1938 Tin plate mill opened at Fairfield; structural shape production complemented

For information on modern tin plate production, see the AISI Learning Center links

1940 Iron ore conditioning and sintering plant underway at Wenonah; plant expanded before construction completed
1942 Blast Furnace No. 7 completed at Fairfield (3 total in service at Fairfield); 140-inch plate mill constructed; Short Creek Mine opened; 25 kVA generator plant installed at Fairfield
1948 Concord mine opened for additional source of coking coal; red ore terminal built at Mobile, facilities expanded at Wenonah
1951 Flintridge offices opened; TCI moves from Brown Marx Building downtown at the fabled "heaviest corner on earth".

Galbraith & Company, developer of Flintridge Building also begins to acquire mining village housing and moves these into private market

TCI Hospital begins to operate as Lloyd Nolan Hospital through private foundation

1952 TCI ceases to exist as separate corporation, becomes TCI Division of US Steel
1953 2 open hearth furnaces added at Fairfield - 2 additional open hearth furnaces added for total of 12; 10 upgraded to match 2 new furnaces at 220 ton capacity
1960 TCI Centennial celebrated with publishing of Biography of a Business

Graphic of TCI Holdings in 1960

1962 Red ore mines closed in Birmingham District as Venezuelan ores begin to be used
1970 Woodward's Pyne Mine closed, deep ore mine and last of local ore mine operations
1972 Sloss's City Furnaces blown out; owned by Jim Walter Corp
1974 Expansion begins at Fairfield Works; first Q-BOP furnaces in operation locally
1980 Plate, wire and rail mills closed -- Ensley and Fairfield consolidation is completed -- Ensley blast furnaces and open hearths are closed
1981 Pipe mill begun at Fairfield Works
This material was taken directly from White's The Birmingham District, An Industrial History and Guide, pp 91 -97.  Additional information taken from Mele's, Birmingham Southern Railroad Company, The First Century, and from TCI's Biography of a Business.  See Bibliography for additional information on these and other references.

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