CAPF is assembling the 70 individual panels for 14’x 20’ mosaic mural which will then depict one large image (The Mona Lisa)at the Eastwood Mall in Niles which has offered to host the project this fall/winter of 2009.
My piece intended to draw on our interest in astronomy, the fate of the Valley's steel industry, rides in a friend's plane over the beautiful Trumbull county landscapes, and Leonardo's interest in flight, flying machines, and his theories on astronomy and visual effects, I have painted a scene of a Bessemer converter (steel processor) "burning out" on the darker left-hand side, with the sparks flying up and mingling with the stars in the sky. On the lighter (landscape) side I have painted my friend's plane and some of the views from the air, including the coke plant in Warren. I overlaid quotes of Leonardo's observations on astronomy on the star field, and his quotes on aerial perspective on top of the landscapes viewed from the plane. The plane emerges from the dark clouds of industry to a possible brighter day.
Title of my tile (#27 -- mostly her hair, a slice of the landscape): Flight of Steel. The aerial quote in the mirror-writing text translates as: “The atmosphere, when full of mist, is quite devoid of blueness, and only appears of the colour of the clouds, which shine white when the weather is fine. And the more you turn to the west the darker it will be, and the bright areas you look to the east. And the verdure of the fields is bluish in a thin mist, but grows grey in a dense one.”
The night sky mirror-text: “the stars are visible by night and not by day, because we are beneath the dense atmosphere, which is full of innumerable particles of moisture, each of which independently, when rays of the sun fall upon it, reflects a radiance...”
The 2 Leonardo quotes are from translations of his journals.
The Bessemer converter depicted was a method of making steel from molten iron that had the most spectacular visual effects.
The process of the heat being blown through the charge takes a total of 12 minutes in 4 stages, 8 minutes of which are the spectacular “boil” of luminous 30 foot flame.
Manganese is added to blown metal combined with sulphur and oxygen to form malleable compounds, making the product forgeable. In a 25-ton blow, 7350 pounds of oxygen are neede to burn out 2135 pounds of carbon, 620 of silicon, and 195 of manganese.
As the converter is upended, the air is blown in. It bubbles up though the iron in a process much like gargling.
When air roars up through the hot charge, silicon and manganese are oxidized and the temperature rises rapidly. Sparks shower and ruddy flames appear. The charge grows steadily hotter and the flames turn yellow as silicon takes fire, then white as carbon is oxidized. Carbon monoxide escapes with a roar and burns at the mouth of the converter with a bright flame visible for miles at night.
The steel process description was derived from charts printed by a steel corporation reproduced in Portraits in Steel: An Illustrated History of Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation by David H.Wollman, Donald R.Inman 1999.
Addendum: December 2009 - I have since located an outstanding source of steel-making images in a 1944 film at Travel film Archive's YouTube channel: Steel Town, one of the American Scene series from United Films (16 minutes).
Further images can be found at Todd Engine,s extensive YouTube video collection including Steelmaking at Youngstown Sheet & Tube in 2 parts