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James Park, Junior

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James Park, Junior (1820-1883)


1883 Obituary [1]

MR. JAMES PARK, Jun., was born at Pittsburg on the 11th January 1820, and died at his residence, Alleghany City, on the 21st April 1883. His father, James Park, was a merchant in Pittsburg, and his mother, Margaret M'Curdy, was the daughter of an Irish physician, who at the time of her marriage was resident in Pittsburg.

In 1837, when he was seventeen years of age, James Park, jun., entered his father's queensware store in Pittsburg, in which, after two or three years, he became a partner. About 1844 he engaged in the manufacture of copper, in the same town, along with some others; and this enterprise prospered so well that he continued to be associated with it until the time of his death. At a later period, Mr. Park became a cotton manufacturer in Alleghany City, and he was to the last part owner and head of a cotton factory there, which was extended largely under his control, until it had become one of the most extensive in that part of the States.

It was not until 1862 that Mr. Park became connected with the steel trade. In that year he associated himself with his brother David, and others, in the establishment of the now well-known Black Diamond 'Steelworks at Pittsburg. Those works were designed to produce crucible steel of the highest quality—a branch of the trade that was then in its infancy in the States, the first crucible steel works there having been erected by the firm of Hussey, Weels, & Co., in 1860, only two years before. The Black Diamond Steelworks, under Mr. Park's active direction, were extended from time to time, until it is said that "the business grew to be the largest enterprise of its kind in this or any other country."

At the end of 1882 the works in question contained seventy-two melting holes, and an annual capacity of 10,000 tons.t It was there that the first experimental Siemens gas furnace, built for melting steel in the United States, was erected in 1864; and there also, in 1881, Mr. Park constructed the largest steam-hammer that has yet been erected in that country.

In May 1863 Mr. Park was one of a syndicate of five persons that purchased a controlling interest in the patents of 'William Kelly for the manufacture of Bessemer steel, on what has since been known universally as the Bessemer or pneumatic system; and he was also a member of the syndicate which in the following year acquired the conflicting patents of Henry Bessemer. This company established experimental steelworks at Wyandotte, Michigan, where they produced, in 1864, the first Bessemer steel made in the United States.

Mr. Park took an active part in the affairs of the American Iron and Steel Association, of which for ten years previous to his decease he was a vice-president.

He became a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1881, and attended the meeting held in London in October of that year.


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