The History of Lukens Steel (1810-1925)
In the history of Lukens Steel we can see the rough edges of the changes in communication over time. During the early and mid-nineteenth century, when industry was young, only the business owners and later, a few employees used writing as a method of communication. The tools were primitive-the quill pen, paper, and later letterbooks-and thus communication was kept at a minimum. This state of affairs lasted until about 1870, when they built more sophisticated technological mills and needed to keep records for inspection and tracking defects, at which point record keeping joined the correspondence and fmancial journals. It wasn't until 1890, when they built two open-hearth furnaces and the largest rolling mill in the country, that the need for technical communication increased. Consequently, more and more voices from across the plant joined in the social discourse community. They were beginning to rely on writing and drawing to communicate and solve complex problems. This reliance on multiple voices exploded in the early twentieth century to the massive and multiple networks of technical communication that we are familiar with today.