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Tin Stackers

The History of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company

Al Miller

Business History, Great Lakes, Maritime Studies

Great Lakes Books Series

Hardback
Published: July 1999
ISBN: 9780814328323
Pages: 352 Size: 6x9
Illustrations: 51
Review

The book is solid scholarship and great writing. It's an excellent job of distilling a very complex corporate history and making it as appealing as it is understandable. It will appeal to boatwatchers and serious historians alike. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it!

— C. Patrick Labadie

Formed in 1901 by U.S. Steel Corporation, the Pittsburgh Steamship Company became the largest commercial fleet in the world and assumed a dominant role in Great Lakes shipping and the American steel industry. Tin Stackers tells its story: the ships, the men who sailed them, and the conditions that shaped their times. Drawing on company records and interviews with officials and sailors, Miller tells how the fleet kept organized labor off Great Lakes ships while leading the way in efficient operation, technological advancement, and employee safety. He emphasizes the human element in the company's history by relating the personal challenges faced by crews, and includes many archival photographs. Now navigating the waters of the lakes as the USS Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., these ships continue to play a part in commerce. Tin Stackers preserves their role in industrial history.

Al Miller is a university relations specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Tin Stackers' pace compels interest in a tremendous number of ships, their cargoes and voyages, dropping into the narrative enlightening views on operations from bridge to engine room. Maritime veterans and laymen will be swept along in the current.

– William Donohue Ellis, Editor, Inland Seas

Overall, this is a very readable account of a century of change within the Pittsurgh Steamship Company. Mr. Miller maintains the interest of the reader by emphasizing the human element in this story…In short, academics and casual readers would enjoy this book…Note should also be made of the excellent photographs that are spaced throughout the text.

– Jerome K. Laurent, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

The book is solid scholarship and great writing. It's an excellent job of distilling a very complex corporate history and making it as appealing as it is understandable. It will appeal to boatwatchers and serious historians alike. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it!

– C. Patrick Labadie, Director, Canal Park Visitor Center and Marine Museum