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Atlas Steels was the last major industry to be founded in Welland. The company started with thirty workers in 1928 and had a workforce of 3,000 by 1942.

Atlas deals with six specialty steel types; tool, high-speed, mining drill, branded construction, stainless and special purpose steels. Two hundred and fifty kinds of high carbon steels were tailor made at Atlas and used in the manufacturing of specialty steels. Specialty steels contain other alloys – nickel, tungsten, molylodenum, to change the character of the steel. Shipments from the plant bore the mark “made in Canada.”

Atlas Steels of Dunkirk, New York purchased the property of Dillion Crucible Steel in 1920. D.W. Lathrop came to Welland to manage the company. The company specialized in tool steel and enjoyed steady growth. The company first produced hollow drill steel, auto axles and drive shafts under the name Canadian Atlas Crucible Steel Company Limited. Daniel W. Lanthrop and Roy H. Davis purchased the Canadian company from it's American shareholders on May 4, 1928 and returned it to its former status as a Canadian owned entity. The name was changed to Atlas Steels Limited. The company produced fine steels, tool steels and specialty steel. Atlas became the largest industry in Welland under the direction of R.H. Davis when he took over Canadian Atlas Steels and acquired Canadian Atlas Crucible Steel (previously Dillion Crucible steel). Atlas Steels dealt in the conversion and processing of imported steel into specialty steel. By supplementing the steel producers, not competing with them, Atlas Steels became the largest producer of stainless steel in Canada.

Between 1928 and 1932 Atlas purchased its first electric melting furnace. The company had on-site metallurgical and chemical labs allowing for constant quality tests and improvement of their product. During the Great Depression, Atlas supplied hollow drill steel for the gold mining industry. This market maintained employment levels. By 1935 Atlas had its own sales organizations in Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton. By 1938, it served most of Canada with tool and specialty steels.

Atlas was relied upon heavily during WWII for tool steel. The government invested millions of dollars to produce steel for war purposes. Six Herould arc type electric furnaces enabled four thousand gun barrels a month to be produced, the largest total by Canadian manufacturers at that time. Atlas also produced aircraft steels, bullet core steels, valve steels, magnet steels, railroad axles, tool and die steels, gun barrel steel, browning machine guns, 20 mm gun barrels, boys anti-tank guns and armour piercing steel. Employment almost doubled between 1941 and 1942, rising from 1,600 to 3,000 workers.

During World War Two, Atlas Steels in Welland, Ontario employed several Chinese men. The men, as young as twenty years old, found shelter in staff houses equipped for one hundred and fifty men. The men were able to cook their own meals and eat with chopsticks if they wished. Many of these workers left Welland following the war to find employment elsewhere in Canada.

Following the Second World War, the plant was purchased from the government for a small percentage of its value. The company concentrated on exports, with its international headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. By 1947, Atlas was doing business in fifty-three countries and was the largest manufacturer of stainless and specialty steel in the British Commonwealth.

By 1949, there was a drop in sales for Atlas products and the company was forced to diversify in order to survive. The company began manufacturing stainless steel and added a sheet rolling mill in the north plant to manufacture stainless steel sheets and bars. This raised the employment level to two thousand. In 1952 Atlas expanded and the plant included a cold rolling mill. By 1953 Atlas was Canada’s sole provider of stainless steel sheets and bars. The following year they diversified again to include a stainless strip and tube mill and in 1956 Atlas Titanium Limited was created to manufacture titanium.

In 1958, Atlas Steels sold its headquarters on East Main Street for $80,000 to the City of Welland. It became the site for Welland's city hall. They moved their headquarters across the street into a newly constructed facility. The building was surrounded by Canada's first stainless steel curtain wall. In July of 1961, Atlas purchased Alloy Metal Sales Limited from International Nickel Company of Canada. Alloy Metal Sales Limited produced stainless steel flat rolled and allied products.

In 1961, Atlas Titanium Limited research centre was the first in Canada to produce vacuum melted heats using consumable electrode vacuum arc melting furnaces. Atlas Titanium produced heats of titanium and steel. Zirconium was produced for the nuclear industry. In 1961 the company began exporting Atlas products to Europe. These exports created an opportunity for Welland employees to relocate to company positions in Europe.

The Welland factory was renamed Atlas Specialty Steels in 1985. Two years later the annual production capacity was recorded at 210,000 tons. The Sammi Group of South Korea purchased the Atlas facilities in 1989. By 2000 Slater Steels Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario purchased Atlas Specialty Steels and the Tracy plant in Quebec. Slater Steels applied for creditor protection under Canadian and United States legislation. In June, 2003 it was required to liquidate the Welland plant as well as other holdings.  A deal to sell the Atlas Specialty Steels facility to Centre Steel Holdings Ltd. was expected to close by the end of April, 2004.

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