History of Granite City Steel

Strongbarn TinOur Barn Tin Ceiling Tiles are some of the finest ceiling products you can find. Made from salvaged barn tin, these tiles have a patina that can’t be matched.  Some of this salvaged tin comes from Granite City Steel, specifically their STRONGBARN brand. Because of outstanding affordability and quality, these panels were used to make many barns throughout the country.

And they’re now a common source for decorative ceiling tiles! 

Granite City Steel

As one of the most successful, prominent, and famous steel manufacturing companies in the world, Granite City Steel has built their success on efficiency and innovation. Through intuitive processes and a dash of ingenuity, they have been able to create affordable steel products that met the needs of building owners all over the country, including barn tin panels.

Founded by William and Frederick Niedringhaus, two brothers who immigrated from Germany, Granite City Steel actually got its start as a tinware company in the St. Louis area. The company was founded in the 1860’s, but by the 1870’s the brothers had created a system for making decorative mottled surfaces on metal. This became known as “graniteware.”

As the brothers’ company gained business and a reputation for quality, Frederick was able to successfully run for the United States Congress, representing the state of Missouri for a short period, from 1889 to 1891. After serving Missouri and the United States for two years, Frederick returned to the metal business. While some might see this as a step backwards, the decision turned out well for him, as the company would grow into one of the most successful metal manufactures in the nation.

As business expanded, the company would need room for growth. They eventually moved across the Mississippi River to the Illinois town of Granite City. In 1895, Granite City Steel was officially launched.

During the industrial revolution, the entire St. Louis area, including Granite City, saw rapid growth. Granite City Steel was a major producer of metal products for decades and became an important part of the local community.

The Preservation Research Office says that at the time Granite City Steel used a 22-ton furnace and was able to produce 20,000 gross tons of finished product every year. Although it started by making only metal sheets, production eventually expanded to bar steel and tin plate. By 1905, the facility employed 2,000 people and covered an area of 15 acres.

By 1927, Granite City Steel was incorporated and was eventually purchased by U.S. Steel. However, the facility is still operating to this day, and has an annual capacity that sits around 650,000 tons.

STRONGBARN: The Pride of Granite City

One of the top products from Granite City is STRONGBARN. This is a trademark of Granite City Steel and has been owned by them since 1948. The trademark essentially gave the company ownership of specific types of roof and siding materials. This STRONGBARN material was used to complete many different barns and machine shops, and it’s now a common sight in our Barn Tin Ceiling Tiles. Although it’s rare, you may even see the STRONGBARN logo printed on one of the panels. 

Quality Products from an American Company

DakotaTin has a large selection of high-quality items for your home or commercial space. We can help complete your area with decorative salvaged or new tin panels, and they all work with a standard ceiling mount system!


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