Joe Magarac was to steel what Paul Bunyan was to lumber. He rose to folklore fame in the Pittsburgh steel mills in the late 19th century. Born in an ore mountain and made of solid steel, Magarac stood 7ft. tall with a torso the breadth of a smokestack and arms as thick as railroad ties. He was said to have worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the mills. He carried his lunch in a washtub instead of a lunchbox and when Joe made steel, he'd scoop up the molten metal and taste it, exhaling clouds of steam through his nostrils. He'd dump the steel into ingot molds with his bare hands, squeezing out ribbons of railings between his fingers.
Joe was of Eastern European descent and the name Magarac translated to "jackass" however, it was never used in a derogatory sense, instead it was the equivalent of the American "workhorse" and was a highly respected term.
Joe Magarac was all work and no play and he did not go in for poorly made steel. He proved himself to be the ultimate "company man" when in order to ensure that the steel for a new mill that was being built would be the best, Joe himself jumped into the vat of molten iron and melted himself down. He said, "Now this new mill will make more jobs and turn out the best steel in America." As the men built the new mill they thought of the strongest steelman there was, Joe Magarac. Legend claims that to this day the mill still stands, the finest and strongest ever built.
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