AMM Steel Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its Class of
2013: three distinguished individuals who pioneered, developed
or furthered the practices, strategies and interests of the
Tadeusz Sendzimirs life encompassed much of the political
upheaval of the 20th Century. Born in Poland, Sendzimir fled
his native Lvov when it was overrun by Russian troops during
World War I. He was living in Kiev when the Russian Revolution
broke out in 1917 and wound up in Vladivostok and Shanghai
during much of the 1920s. Sendzimir left his native Poland for
the United States in the mid-1930s, just a few years before
Germany crushed the Polish Army in 1939 in the opening salvoes
of World War II.
Along the way, Sendzimir amassed
120 patents related to mining, metallurgy and steelmaking. He
founded a company in the United States that offered a process
critical to 90 percent of the worlds stainless steel
production, and his patents on galvanizing and the rolling of
steel were used all over the world.
included the introduction of the continuous process for
galvanizing steel and the rolling of stainless steel. The
rolling of stainless steel was eventually implemented on the
first 20-high cluster mill that was used for lightweight
machinery, such as radar, designed for mounting on World War II
aircraft--without the Z-mill, there may not have been airborne
radar--and later, the skin of the Apollo spacecraft was
manufactured on one of Sendzimirs mills.
When Sendzimir died in 1989, he
was one of the grand old men of the global steel industry. Once
an outcast in Communist Poland for his decision to emigrate to
the United States, Sendzimir was posthumously honored by
Polands leaders when they changed the name of the Lenin
Steel Works in Krakow to the Tadeusz Sendzimir Steel Works.
For his work in advancing the
science of metallurgy and steelmaking, Sendzimir is recognized
as a 2013 inductee into AMMs Steel Hall of
Born in 1894 into a Polish
family that could trace its lineage back to the Middle Ages,
Sendzimir grew up in Lvov, a center of Polish learning and
culture. Always interested in things mechanical, he built his
first camera at age 13 and was studying at the citys
Technical University in 1914 when World War I broke out.
Following the Russian capture of Lvov, he moved to Kiev and was
living in Ukraine when Russia collapsed into revolution.
Sendzimir fled east to Vladivostok and then to Shanghai, where
he helped set up the first plant to produce wire and nails in
It was at the wire and nail
factory that he conceived of the process for hot-dip
galvanizing, which he patented and licensed at facilities
around the world. The Sendzimir process for the continuous
galvanizing of strip is still the basis for most galvanizing
lines in the world today.
Sendzimir returned to Poland in
the 1930s and helped Polish industrialists establish several
galvanizing and cold strip mills. He began working closely with
American steelmakers in the mid-1930s, and in 1938 formed a
partnership with Armco Steel Co. Sendzimir moved to
Armcos headquarters in Middletown, Ohio, in 1939, just
months before Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and the Soviet
During World War II, Sendzimir
worked with Armcos engineers to patent a rolling mill
that could reduce very hard materials down to very light
gauges. The process allowed Armco to roll silicon steel down to
two-thousandths of an inch for the production of small
transformers that would be used in airborne radar.
Following the war, he
established T. Sendzimir Inc. in Waterbury, Conn., and used the
company to market his patents around the world. Sendzimir, who
became an American citizen in 1946, was awarded patents in the
late 1940s for the planetary mill for hot rolling, his patents
in the 1960s included the spiral looper for strip accumulators,
and in the 1970s he was awarded patents for the rocker mill and
the zero-crown housing.
Because Sendzimir had emigrated
to the United States, he was a non-person in
Communist Poland during the Cold War era from the 1950s to the
1970s. Sendzimir was always a major supporter of Polish causes
in his adopted country, giving of his time and fortune to the
Kosciuszko Foundation, the Polish Institute of Arts and
Sciences of America and Pennsylvanias Alliance
In 1974, King Gustav of Sweden
awarded Sendzimir the Brinell Gold Medal; two years later,
Connecticut Gov. Ella T. Grasso presented him with the 20th
Century Pilgrims Award; and in 1986, New York Mayor Ed
Koch presented Sendzimir with the Liberty Medal. In 1990, the
Association of Iron and Steel Technology established the AIST
Tadeusz Sendzimir Memorial Medal in his honor.
Sendzimir died in September 1989 at his winter home in
Jupiter, Fla., at the age of 95. T. Sendzimir Inc., the company
he founded, remained in operation under the leadership of his
son, Michael, who chaired the company from 1975 to 2007.
Following Michael Sendzimirs retirement, his son,
Thaddeus, was named company president, continuing the legacy of
Sendzimir innovation into a third generation. Since the
companys founding, T. Sendzimir Inc. has overseen the
construction of 265 cluster mills, 55 Z-high mills and 16
planetary mills in 43 countries.