IF HELL EXISTS, it might just resemble the enormous blast furnaces at TimkenSteel that turns two million tons of junked cars, old appliances, and other scrap into new steel. The factory is bathed in a red glow, and molten steel bubbles in giant cauldrons. “It was pretty mindblowing,” says photographer Ricky Rhodes. “It gets really bright and hot. You have to literally move away because you feel like you’re melting.”
Rhodes grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, in the heart of the rust belt but never saw the inside of a steel factory until TimkenSteel invited him in three years ago. The company has been producing steel for 100 years, and its three factories in nearby Canton produces two million tons of steel each year. TimkenSteel rarely allows outsiders into the factories, so of course Rhodes eagerly accepted.
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