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Industrialist Ralph C. Stiefel Sr. - Ellwood City PA

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Ralph C. Stiefel Sr. (1862-1938), a thoroughly educated man and brilliant engineer, was born in Switzerland in 1862. He spent about a dozen years working in France and England perfecting a revolutionary process he invented for making seamless steel tubing. (c1920)


Stiefel brought that revolutionary process with him when he came to Ellwood City in 1894, where he was appointed superintendent of the Ellwood Weldless Tube Company (Mill B site). Stiefel’s process made Ellwood City the seamless tube capital of the world and helped put the growing town on the industrial map. (c1905)


Stiefel left the company after it was absorbed under the Shelby Steel Tube Company in 1899. He helped form his own company – the Standard Seamless Tube Company (Mill A site show above) – the forerunner of the “Tube Mill” so vital to the history of Ellwood City. The company was soon bought out and became National Tube in 1901. National Tube and Shelby Tube were soon consolidated under the U.S. Steel banner and Stiefel served as the general superintendent of all nationwide plants. Stiefel was also involved with several other firms and was a leading citizen of Ellwood City for many years. Full Size


Stiefel was also involved with several other firms and was a leading citizen of Ellwood City for many years. Along with partner J. H. Nicholson he organized the Standard Engineering Company on Park Avenue in 1902. The company specialized in threading pipe made from steel and other metals. It was merged in 1926 to form the Aetna-Standard Engineering Company and became a major employer in Ellwood City for many years. Stiefel served with the company until he retired in 1936. Full Size


Stiefel married England-native Mary Bowen in 1895 and they settled into this home on Fountain Avenue/Pittsburgh Circle. They had two children named Ralph Jr. and Josephine. Ralph Stiefel Sr. passed away suddenly while staying at his summer home in St. Petersburg, Florida, in March 1938. Full Size

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