New Historical Photographs of Pittsburgh added to the Brady Stewart Collection Website – Vol. 2

William Swindell & Brothers/Swindell-Dressler Corporation

Brady Stewart’s business relationship with William Swindell & Brothers started in 1925.  Brady Stewart was contracted to photograph engineering designs and steel furnaces at Swindell’s offices and on location at area steel mills. The business relationship for photographic services continued for another 45 years (1970).  We added 26 Swindell Dressler images to the Collection.

History of William Swindell/Swindell-Dressler Corporation

The following information was obtained from the Swindell Dressler International Company’s website.  Swindell Dressler is based in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania . We were founded by Phillip Dressler in 1915 as American Dressler Tunnel Kilns, Inc. The first whiteware tunnel kiln – developed by Dressler – was built for Universal Rundle in 1915. The first oil-fired refractory tunnel kiln was built by Dressler for Norton Company in 1919.

In 1930, American Dressler Tunnel Kilns, Inc., merged with William Swindell and Brothers to form Swindell-Dressler Corporation. The Swindell brothers designed, built, and repaired metallurgical furnaces for the steel and aluminum industries. The new company offered extensive heat-treating capabilities to heavy industry worldwide.

Pullman Incorporated of Chicago purchased Swindell-Dressler in 1959. The company expanded into the fields of heavy engineering and construction. By 1970, Swindell-Dressler was called Pullman Swindell. By 1980, Pullman Swindell had designed and built a variety of plants in countries such as Poland , Saudi Arabia , Iraq , Iran , Indonesia , Colombia , Venezuela , Mexico , Canada , and the USA .

In 1980, Wheelabrator-Frye acquired Pullman, Inc. Pullman Swindell was teamed with The Rust Engineering Company, the sixth largest engineering firm in the USA . The Swindell furnace group was sold. The original ceramic group, under the name Swindell-Dressler, moved to our present location just outside Pittsburgh in Coraopolis , Pennsylvania in the mid-1980’s. Swindell Dressler’s facilities include sales, administrative, and engineering offices, as well as development laboratories and assembly shops.

In 1991, Swindell Dressler International Company (SDIC) was purchased by private investors from Pittsburgh . The revitalized company has expanded into worldwide markets as well as continuing to provide services to American markets. With satellite offices in Melbourne , Australia and Mexico City , Mexico , SDIC can ride the wave of development in the global marketplace.

Additional Photographs added to the Website

1) Two Images of Tasa Coal’s Marion Steam Shovel.  Zelienople, PA:  The images show views of a Tasa Coal Company’s Marion Power Shovel in 1956.  The Tasa Coal Co. operated its Mine No. 8 in this area. It was a strip mine operation due to the thinness of the area coal seams.

2) Four images of office and home furnishings from the 1950s and 1960s.  Two images are from a Unistrut Products Company photo assignment;  Office and home furnishings of the Future on the showroom floor – 1953.  And two images are from a photo assignment for a local Ad Agency.  The new office cubicles of the 1960s.

3) Two images of Forbes Avenue businesses in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh – 1962.

4) One image of the Duquesne Steel Plant on the Monongahela River – 1960; one image of the Pittsburgh Skyline from one of the Mt Washington Overlooks; One image of the Twentieth Century Club Building in the Oakland Section of Pittsburgh – 1965; One image of an aerial view of the IDL Building in Monroeville PA – 1970;  and One image of Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical barges on the Ohio River – 1959

Photographic Images can be viewed at


About bradystewartcollection
The Brady Stewart Collection of photographs, made by Brady Stewart, Brady Stewart Jr. and associates of Brady Stewart Studio Inc., consists of photographs taken in and around Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Lake Erie, Lake Chautauqua, New York, Southwestern Ohio, Washington DC, Niagara Falls and Idaho. The historically significant collection spans most of the 20th century (1900-1990) and includes a wide array of Black &White, Sepia and Color photographs on Advertising & Products, Buildings and Churches, Children, Homesteading in Idaho, Manufacturing & Equipment, People & Lifestyle, Pittsburgh City Scenes, Sports and Transportation. The Brady Stewart Collection encompasses over 20,000 glass plates, prints and film negatives of all shapes and sizes. Today, Brady Stewart Studio is a fourth generation photography business. We are one of the longest operating family-owned commercial photography studios in the United States (1912-1991, 2008-). The Collection Images can be viewed at our hosted web site,

4 Responses to New Historical Photographs of Pittsburgh added to the Brady Stewart Collection Website – Vol. 2

  1. Richard Becherer says:

    To whom it may concern:

    I am a faculty member at Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta, GA. At the moment, I am researching a brick factory built in the mid-1950s by Swindell-Dressler, in Atlanta. I was wondering if I could consult your Swindell-Dressler materials to see what kind of engineering that they might have been installing into the Atlanta plant, which is now destroyed. I’m also curious if you might have travelled to Atlanta to photograph the construction phases itself, or would it have been more likely for a local studio to have done that? Any clues as to what photographer it might have been? I will also be contacting the remains of that original Swindell-Dressler Company, now located in Coraopolis. There also appears to be a Pullman-Swindell firm as located in downtown on Grant Street, but they have no phone contact. Curious.

    Can you help me with any of this, particularly the S-D photographs? FYI I live in Edgewood in the East End and will be in Pittsburgh next week for Thanksgiving. You can reach me there at 412-731-0549, or my wife. I thank you in advance for any help you might be able to provide re any of these questions.


    Richard Becherer, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Architecture

    • Richard,

      1) Swindell is located in Coraopolis – Grant Street is an old address.
      5100 Casteel Drive
      Coraopolis, PA 15108-9767
      +1 (412) 788-7100
      +1 (412) 788-7110 FAX

      2) We did not travel to Atlanta to photograph the new plant. You are correct, it was probably a local professional photographer. Based on the timing, you may want to search for local “commercial photographers” that were active during the 1950s.

      3) I will look through the remaining Swindell files to see if there is any reference to Altanta or brick manufacturing. There are only a few other files so it will not take long.

      My suggestion, call the home office and ask for the engineering department… if you don’t get much then I would contact the marketing department. In my experience, engineers LOVE to talk about the past engineering successes!

      I will provide an update later in the week.


      Michael Stewart

      • Richard,

        I reviewed the manufacturing files and could not find anything referencing a Swindell Dressler plant OR equipment used in Atlanta Georgia. Did you have any luck with the Pittsburgh Swindell office?

        Mike Stewart

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