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Bethlehem Steel

A wire rope company was acquired in 1937.

The growth of the early 1920s was halted by the Depression of the 1930s; Bethlehem was particularly hard hit because of its reliance on the construction and railroad industries. During this period, the company was able to expand its plants and add products to its product offerings due to a strong financial condition ("A Brief History," 1992, p. 5). Because of its strength and its acquisition of a bridge fabricator, Bethlehem landed both fabrication and construction contracts for the Golden Gate bridge.

During recent years, the company has gone through difficult times. The company had record-breaking years during the 1970s in terms of tons of steel ordered, income recognized, investments and sales, but the tide had turned by the 1980s. The company faced the challenge of imported steel as well as a shift in the industry itself, and the record-breaking years of the 1970s were followed by record-breaking years in the early 1980, but this time the records represented dollars lost and low production levels ("A Brief History," 1992, p. 9).

The company undertook an aggressive restructuring program during the 1980s, selling some facilities and shutting down others. Bethlehem returned to its core business, steel, and focused on making those efforts productive. The going has been tough for the company, however, and the company has a long way to go before it is able to consider the restructuring a success.


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