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Virtual Lawrence County
Allied Chemical/Semet Solvay
3330 S 3rd St, Ironton, OH 45638
The Semet Solvay Company was manufacturers of coke. Coke is a hard, dry substance produced by heating coal to a very high temperature in the absence of air. Then, the coke is used in the manufacturing of iron and steel.
In the 1800’s, three relatives would join to develop a new process for coke plants. Louis Semet developed the new process with his relatives, Ernest and Alfred Solvay. They designed a coke oven which would recover valuable materials lost in most coking processing at the time.
In 1892, the Solvay Process Company first produced its new by-product ovens in America.
In 1895, the Semet-Company Company was formed to build and operate the new ovens.
In 1913, the Semet-Solvay Company came to the Tri-State. In that year, the company constructed a coke plant in Ashland, Kentucky.
In 1918, the company moved across the Ohio River to Lawrence County, Ohio. They built a coke plant in Ironton.
In 1920, the Semet-Solvay became part of Allied Chemical. The Ironton location kept the Semet-Solvay name.
In 1938, the company was located at 3327 South 3rd Street in Ironton, Ohio.
In the 1940 Ironton City Directory, the company’s occupation was listed as coke manufacturers.
In 1944, Harry Briggs was named the Ironton Division’s superintendent. At that time, the company’s address was listed as 3329 South 3rd Street.
Although the Semet-Solvay Company was still listed as coke manufacturers, the phone listing was Semet-Solvay Company Storeroom Number 1. The address was again 3327 South 3rd Street. Harry Briggs was still the superintendent.
In 1951, Briggs ended his eight years as the superintendent of the Ironton Semet-Solvay Company. He was replaced by James A. Darr.
By 1954, the Semet-Solvay name had changed again. It was called the Semet-Solvay Division Ironton Plant. The address was 3329 South 3rd.
In 1960, the company was called the Semet-Solvay Division Allied Chemical Corporation. Harry G. Briggs was the superintendent.
In 1961, the name was rearranged a little. Then, it was known as Allied Chemical Corporation Semet-Solvay Division.
In 1963, Robert H. Katzenberger was named superintendent of the plant. Nine years later, Katzenberg was replaced by C. L. Davidson, who was listed as plant manager. Davidson stayed with the company for three years. He was replaced with Dean Jones.
In 1978, the Semet-Solvay changed names again. This time the company was named the Ironton Coke Plant. Dean Jones was still the plant manager.
In 1980, Russell Downs replaced Dean Jones as manager.
In 1983, the property ownership was changed from the Ironton Coke Plant to the Iron City Fuels, Inc.
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