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Sendzimir Mill Video Documentation

Liebhold, Peter  Search this
Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Search this
Washington Steel Mill  Search this
Sendzimir, Tadeusz, 1894-1989  Search this
1 Cubic foot (3 boxes)
27 Video recordings
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Video recordings
Oral history
Scope and Contents:
Inventor Tadeusz Sendzimir, a Polish immigrant, designed and installed the first "Z" Mill for cold rolling stainless steel in the United States. The videohistory documents the story of a new approach to the rolling process of steel technology transfer and consumer demand for a new product;video documents the mill in operation and interviews with active and retired workers.
The collection is divided into three series.

Series 1: Original Videotapes, 1996

Series 2: Master Videotapes, 1996

Series 3: Reference Videotapes, 1996
Biographical / Historical:
Tadeusz Sendzimir, a Polish émigré, came to the United States in 1939 to work at Armco Steel in Middletown, Ohio. Sendzimir had earlier developed radical processes for galvanizing steel (1931) and cold rolling steel (1933). Sendzimir's rolling process departed dramatically from the multi-stand continuous process developed by John Tytus Armco (1924). Instead of using multi-stand four high rolls Sendzimir's mill used a clustered nest of rolls, like two inverted pyramids (1-2-3-4 configuration). A few Sendzimir Mills were built in Europe before WW II stopped construction of experimental steel plants. While Sendzimir was working at Armco, Signode Steel in Chicago ordered on of his "Z" Mills (Sendzimir Mills are called "Z" Mills in the United States). Signode used the mill to successfully roll low carbon steel for strapping and more importantly for rolling ultra thin silicon steel (for radar units) during WW II.

Stainless steel, first developed around 1915, is made by alloying carbon steel with chromium to make a metal that is highly resistant to corrosion. Stainless steel is relatively hard and is difficult to weld, cut, or drill. The physical properties of stainless steel are important to understanding why the "Z" mill has been so successful. Stainless steel was traditionally rolled in sheets on a four high reversing mill (with a Z mill much larger strips forming rolls can be made). Because stainless steel work hardens quickly it cannot be run through a multi-stand mill easily. One advantage of the a Z mill is that the small work rolls provide a sharper bite, greater pressure, and less roll deflection than a four high mill and thus can roll stainless top gage without having to anneal (soften) the roll.

For more on Sendzimir as an inventor see Steel Will: The Life of Tad Sendizmir, Hippocrene Books, New York, 1994 and by Vanda Sendzimir or "My Father the Inventor" in Invention and Technology, Fall 1995, p. 54-63 also by Vanda Sendzimir.
Related Archival Materials:
Mill's central control pulpit in collection of the Division of History of Technology (now Division of Work and Industry).
Created by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and Peter Liebhold of the Division of History of Technology in December 1996.
Collection is open for research but the original videos are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Steel industry and trade -- 1930-2000  Search this
Steel -- Cold working -- 20th century  Search this
Steel, Stainless -- 20th century  Search this
Factories -- 20th century  Search this
Inventions -- 20th century  Search this
Inventors -- 20th century  Search this
Videotapes -- 1990-2000
Oral history -- 1990-2000
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Sendzimir Mill Video Documentation, December 1996, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Sendzimir Mill Video Documentation
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Washington Steel Mill (Proposer: Peter Liebhold), October 1996

Collection Creator::
Lemelson Center  Search this
Box 1 of 1
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 03-116, Lemelson Center, Grant Records
See more items in:
Grant Records
Grant Records / Box 1
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

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