Question of the Week
Who helped construct the Cambria Iron Works in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and worked for Bethlehem Steel?
Answer: John Fritz
John Fritz was a pioneer in the fields of iron and steel making, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1822. His is foray into the iron and steel industry began in 1844 when he started working for a foundry in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. From there, he was called upon to help build a new plant, the Cambria Iron Works, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
In 1860 Fritz relocated to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he eventually served as the superintendent Bethlehem Iron Company. During the Civil War, Bethlehem Iron Company was a major producer of iron rails and would become one of the world's leading steel mills. At Bethlehem, Fritz went onto to produce structural steel and armor plating. He received numerous distinctions for his innovations and several awards carry his namesake.
Some thirty years later, Fritz retired from Bethlehem Steel Company. He contributed funds for the building of an engineering laboratory at Lehigh University and was an active member of the university's board of trustees. In the 1890s he served as president of both the American Institute of Mining Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He died in 1913 at his home in Bethlehem at the age of 91.
Image: Print of John Fritz
About the Author
Look for these history stories every Sunday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The stories, called Memory Stream, are published in the Currents section of the newspaper.