Probably the last bit of news I expected to hear last week was that Follansbee Steel was shutting down. To be specific, according to a letter sent from Follansbee, the company “will permanently close due to sustained unfavorable business conditions.” Follansbee Steel?!
Now what are we going to do?! I do not know of another source of terne-coated steel. Follansbee commanded a proprietary process for coating steel and stainless steel in a process that has been a part of roofing in this country for decades. That’s “forever” in terms of my nearly four decades in the industry (and they started way before that). In fact, the firm traces its roots back to the early 1800s.
Follansbee, West Virginiais home to Follansbee Steel. You may read from their history (see links below) how the Follansbee brothers took over the mill in the early part of the 20th century and served as the city’s namesake. Follansbee is a small town, 45 miles outside of Pittsburgh, and if the operation is not taken over it will certainly spell the end of an era.
According to news reports, the plant employed three dozen workers. The move will impact many more as contractors, dealers, architects, and would-be owners will have to hustle to find a new source. It is doubtless that the process of producing terne-coated steel and terne-coated stainless steel will move forward. Stay tuned as we try to determine how that will happen.
Some resources to learn more: