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(images: Scrap stockyard, Pouring steel into molds, Rod mill, Rod mill furnace under construction, EPA clean-up of Continental Steel site, 1910 photo of Kokomo Steel and Wire)
John Fredrick was the founder of Continental Steel in 1927. The company was an industrial and social power in the community for many years. In 1969, Continental Steel was acquired by Penn-Dixie of New York. Penn-Dixie’s mismanagement of Continental Steel reached a low point during a 1973-1974 steel shortage. The management division of Penn-Dixie forced Continental Steel to divert products from long-time customers to associates of Penn-Dixie’s CEO, Jerome Castle. This diversion cost Continental many customers, who never returned. Penn-Dixie also failed to modernize Continental Steel’s facilities, forcing the company to subsist on outdated equipment and techniques. The plant lost its struggle to survive in 1986 when the gates were locked for the last time.