US Steel’s Rhapsody of Steel Exhibition 1962


During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the Steel and Aluminum industries were aggressively competing for market share in traditionally strong steel markets; food and beverage cans, automobile parts, household appliances and toys/bicycles.  The two dominant manufacturers, US Steel and ALCOA were both headquartered in Pittsburgh.

During 1962, ALCOA made a big move into the beer can market with the unique “soft top” can.  Soon after, ALCOA can out with an even better solution with the “Pop top” can that was a big success in both the food and  beverage industries.

Softop Beer Can

New Schlitz Soft Top Aluminum Beer Can

Brady Stewart Studio was required to sign a confidentiality agreement before the product was set up and photographed in the studio located at 725 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh (Gamble Building).  This was a top-secret product announcement that took the steel industry by surprise.

To respond, US Steel’s New York Advertising agency came up with the idea to create more awareness for “everyday” steel products used by consumers.  They decided to test the idea with the Rhapsody of Steel exhibit at Horne’s Department Store  in downtown Pittsburgh during the Christmas holiday season of 1962.

1962-USSteel-Promo-01 WEB

Steelmark logo on the front of Horne’s Department store on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh

If you were wondering… yes, this is the very similar to the logo that the Pittsburgh Steelers began using on their helmets in 1962 and still use today. The logo is owned by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and was introduced in 1960 to help all the American Steel manufacturers market their products more effectively against foreign steel competition and the domestic Aluminum and Plastic manufacturers. The Steelers asked AISI for permission to amend the logo to include the Steelers full name in 1963.  AISI was very happy to do it since the logo would gain even more visibility nationwide, even though the Steelers were not very good and rarely got on television,

The exhibits included many of the consumer uses of steel products;

1962-USSteel-Promo-20 WEB

Store display with steel trucks

And the outside window displays included more, this window display was on Stanwix Street;

US Steel's Rhapsody of Steel Window Display

Window display with large household appliances

Even through the campaign was a success, the Aluminum industry continued to take market share away from Steel due to the increasing cost and overall weight of steel products versus Aluminum.

We added 24 new images from the Rhapsody of Steel opening night exhibit on December 19th 1962,  Brady Stewart Jr and Ross Catanza were assigned to the project with Ross taking the outdoor photographs and Brady Jr the inside,

A reminder that the new images can be found at  http://bradystewartphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-list.  Gallery: Living In Western Pennsylvania 1960-1970.  And that the images online are for sale and all proceeds are used to digitize and identify more prints and negatives.

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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, www.bradystewartphoto.photoshelter.com

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