Stalinism, autarchy, espionage and Marshall Aid: How US strip mill technology came to Europe

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The American continuous wide strip rolling mill halved the cost, improved the quality and markedly increased the size of steel sheets after 1926. These mills diffused rapidly in the USA to supply a growing market for autobodies, canstock and consumer goods. European steelmakers adopted this radical, large scale technology during the late 1930’s. Pre-war adopters in Europe briefly interpreted strip mill technology to meet political priorities, market circumstances and local technical preferences. The UK steel industry bought standard mill designs directly from two US suppliers. Soviet and German adoption was shaped by political regimes of the time. The German mill was the product of local innovation and espionage. In France, Renault developed small scale technology. Marshall Aid made post-war adopters conform to US technological norms, with the Cold War influencing the location of strip mills in Europe after 1948. The wide strip mill contributed to the Americanisation of European industry after World War II.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-121
JournalThe International Journal for the History of Engineering & Technology
Issue number1-2
Early online date30 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2019