Approximately 50,000 people have been
employed over the years at ArcelorMittal
Dofasco. The ranks started with just
a few employees in 1912, swelled to
mid century and peaked out at
nearly 12,000 in the 1970s.
The sheer number of families that have
a member who has worked at Dofasco
coupled with the company’s status as
the Hamilton region’s largest private
employer means you don’t have to
travel far from the plant gates to find a
common connection.
C.W. Sherman’s first hire was not a burly
steelman, but rather a 17-year-old
named Edna Aldridge. Aldridge answered
an ad in The Hamilton Spectator calling
for “general office work.” She took her
place as Sherman’s assistant, private
secretary and clerk in a tiny office in the
Lister Building in downtown Hamilton.
She started before the foundry was built
when the company was no more than
a blueprint and a business plan. Edna
told the story of how C.W. Sherman
would yell out to the foundry to shut the
equipment down if a telephone call came
in because it may have been a customer
and he could not risk missing the call.
As more employees came into the fold,
a clock system was established. The
numbers were an indication of the area
of the plant the employee worked in.
The man who held Clock No. 1 was Hugh
McCallum. He was referred to as “one of
the most beloved of our old-timers” and
was nicknamed “Number One” for his
distinction. Among the first employees
in 1913, McCallum was a Scottish
immigrant who was a Herman Molding
Machine Foreman in the foundry.
Eventually the Perm Number, a unique ID
held by permanent full time employees
during both working and retirement
years, was used to keep track of
employees. In the 100th year more
than 42,000 Perm Numbers had
been assigned.
This means that in addition to Aldridge
and McCallum there are 50,000
more unique stories about working at
ArcelorMittal Dofasco whether as a
permanent employee, a casual or even
a summer student. And each employee
has personal memories of the Dofasco
Family and the Hamilton community.
From Mayors, to Councillors and Town
Criers and from professional athletes
to Olympians and community heroes,
these hardworking men and women of
steel have each made a contribution
to reaching the company’s 100th
anniversary and changing the face of
steel along the way.
More than just a number:
the faces of steel