[[quoteright:350:[[Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/7a048e34f1ac4f16dddcfc760100705c.jpg]]]]

->''You can't work in a steel mill and think small. Giant converters hundreds of feet high. Every night, the sky looked enormous. It was a torrent of flames - of fire.''
-->-- '''Jack Gilbert'''

A steel mill is one of the closest approximations of HellOnEarth, if [[Literature/TheDivineComedy Dante's Inferno]] is used as a yardstick. Since metal work requires extremely high temperatures, a steel mill is a [[BigLabyrinthineBuilding humongous maze]] of [[EternalEngine eerie machinery]], [[HellFire fiery furnaces]], extreme temperatures, [[LavaPit molten metal]], [[DeadlyGas poisonous gases]], foul smells, deafening sounds and, most of all, [[NoOSHACompliance heavy objects]] [[AccordionMan falling from height]] [[SquashedFlat when least expected]].

The steel mill can be either an integrated mill which produces steel from iron ore, or a mini-mill which produces steel from scrap.

The nucleus of the integrated steel mill is the smelting works, which consists of ironworks (a blast furnace, which makes pig iron from iron ore, coke and limestone) and steelworks (either a converter or open hearth furnace, which makes steel from pig iron and scrap), and rolling mill, which prepares the steel products. The latter has typically an electric arc furnace for smelting the scrap and rolling mill for producing the steel products, such as sheet metal, slabs, girders and pipes. Usually the integrated steel mill also has cokeworks for making metallurgical coke from coal, and a chemical plant for further refining the coal tar into various chemicals. The by-product of blast furnace, slag, can be used on making roads, bricks and cement.

Mini-mills have superceded traditional integrated mills rapidly, and they are important scrap recyclers. The electric arc furnace can be considered as a [[HellFire man-made lightning]]. They are usually located in places, where scrap can be easily obtained and where is an abundance of cheap electricity. A mini-mill consists of smelting works (based on electric arc furnace) and rolling mill.

At best, a SteelMill may be a BigLabyrinthineBuilding - the Severstal mill at Magnitogorsk, Russia, spreads ''twelve kilometers'' along the bank of the Ural River. RealLife steel mills are usually hangar-like, with large open spaces inside, [[CaptainObvious due to the need to move around heavy equipment]]. At worst, it is a true NightmarishFactory. Its DangerousWorkplace nature is often displayed by a large [[XDaysSince X Days Since Last Accident]] billboard.[[note]]"Accident" usually refers to a significant bodily injury in this case, such as a broken bone or severe burn. Smaller injuries aren't counted.[[/note]]

There are even enormous hydraulic anvils, in case the metaphor is just not {{anvilicious}} enough all on its own.



[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/TheDeerHunter'', where the characters work as steelworkers. The picture was shot in a real steel mill at Mingo Junction, Ohio.
* The climax of ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'' takes place in one, of course.
* The droid factory in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' is the scene of a brutal battle between the heroes and their Geonosian adversaries.
* Saruman runs one at Isengard in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings''. Filmed using real ironworkers in orc costumes, pouring real molten iron, which must have been a nightmare for health and safety.
* Dwarves run also one at the basement of Erebor in the prologue of ''Film/TheHobbitAnUnexpectedJourney''. Which qualifies as a DangerousWorkplace with NoOSHACompliance. Dwarves have apparently no concept of occupational safety.
* In ''Film/{{Rudy}}'', the local steel mill is where Rudy's father and brothers work, where he is expected to work, and where his best friend dies in an accident, generously providing the catalyst for Rudy to decide he'd rather be elsewhere.
* The climactic fight scene from ''Film/DrunkenMaster II'' takes place in a steel foundry.
* Po has a pivotal encounter with Shen at Shen's foundry in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2''
* ''Film/{{Super 8}}''. The steel mill shown only at the beginning has a prominent banner of the ilk of [[XDaysSince 'X days since the last workplace accident']] ... before a worker resets the already not-stellar number for the time to 1. This sets the tone of the movie to come as one where AnyoneCanDie.
* Creator/ChristianBale plays a mill worker in the 2013 film ''Film/OutOfTheFurnace''.
* ''Film/HighlanderIIITheSorcerer'': The climactic fight between Connor [=MacLeod=] and Kane takes place in a steel mill.
* The pivotal scene of ''Film/RoboCop1987'' occurs in an abandoned yet surprisingly functional steel mill in Old Detroit. The scene was filmed at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Mill in Monessen, PA.
* The finale of ''Film/{{Cobra}}'' has Cobretti fighting the Night Stalker in a steel mill. [[spoiler:The latter ends up impaled on a hook and being set on fire by the mill's workings]].
* The opening scene of ''Film/DaysOfHeaven'' takes place in a Chicago steel mill.
* ''Film/{{Flashdance}}'': Alex works as a welder in the local mill. The mill itself isn't portrayed as horrible, it's more to show her as a [[WrenchWench messy blue collar worker]] to contrast with her glamorous dance act.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''The Valley of Decision'' by Marcia Davenport. She describes the history of a family and a steel mill told from the point of view of a young woman who works for the family for sixty years - from 1873 to 1941.
* ''Ganz Unten'' ("Lowest of the Low") by Günther Wallraff. He describes of the [[NoOSHACompliance working conditions]] of Turkish immigrant workers in the [[NightmarishFactory post-WWII German steel industry]]. Reading about [[spoiler:one of the workers stumbling at work and falling in the blast furnace]] is creepy.
* Jurgis worked in one in Upton Sinclair's ''Literature/TheJungle''. He described working in one far more ''favourably'' than working in Chicago [[NightmarishFactory meatpacking industry]].
* The description given of Hank Rearden's mill in the second chapter of ''Literature/AtlasShrugged''. However, the incredible heat, heavy weights soaring overhead, and so forth are portrayed positively as symbolizing man's creative power and conquest of physical nature. Although a furnace leak later in the book does portray the extreme danger that are inherent in the processes of steel production very well.
* In a similar vein to ''Ganz Unten'', Creator/HGWells's short story "The Cone" involves a disgruntled worker and his boss on a catwalk, viewing the pressure-valve cone on top of a blast furnace. Note to all steel bosses: it's probably best ''not'' to stand in front of disgruntled workers when you're overlooking an area that has red-hot metals and searing gases.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* In the third season premiere ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' gets sent to a hell-factory that has all of these standard tropes, along with YearInsideHourOutside.
* ''Series/DoctorWho:'' The Cybermen set up one of these in Victorian London in the Tenth Doctor episode "The Next Doctor".
* The sports-movie parody sketch from ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' carries the bad research jokes beyond [[GretzkyHasTheBall sports]] by having the characters work in a steel ''mine'', combining the two standard "got to get out of this dead-end town" industries of plucky underdog movies.
* Mentioned in the backstory of a little-remembered BBC serial called ''A Very British Coup'': the newly-elected Prime Minister's father was employed in one, but one day something went wrong and, as the PM puts it: "He were ''[[DeadlyEuphemism splashed.]]'' [[NightmareFuel By 'ot steel."]] The company's owners escaped punishment in a wrongful death lawsuit by claiming it was a result of the man's own negligence, a fact about which the Prime Minister is ''very bitter indeed.''
* ''Series/SesameStreet'' has used [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNInmrPmug8 this clip]] of a steel I-Beam being forged when an episode is [[BroughtToYouByTheLetterS Brought To You By The Letter "I"]]. It's memorablly scary for many when they first saw it as a child.


[[folder: Music ]]

* Music/BillyJoel tried for this in his "Allentown" video, but it just came off kind of HoYay.
* Music/BruceSpringsteen in his "Youngstown". The "sweet Jenny" which he refers in that song is not a girl, but the Youngstown Steel and Tube Co. blast furnace named "Jeannette".
* The folk song ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT3A-MazRqY The Dalesman's Litany]]'' is about the rural population of Yorkshire in the 19th century being forced to work in the rising industrial cities. The steel mills are not described in positive terms.
-->I've walked at night through Sheffield lanes, 'twas just as being in hell
-->Where furnaces thrust out tongues of fire and roared like the wind on the fell
* Tom Russell song ''U.S. Steel'', which describes the demise of the steel industry in Homestead, PA.
* The steelworks of Birmingham were the inspiration for many classic Music/BlackSabbath riffs: band members would lie in bed and listen to the night shift at work, composing rhthyms around the regular noises of the drop-hammers and other heavy machinery-- quite literally Heavy Metal.

* William Blake's poem ''Jerusalem'' alludes early 19th century foundries as "dark Satanic mills". For apparent reasons.
* ''Smoke and Steel'' by Carl Sandburg.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* There are ''entire planets'' turned into steel mills in TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}. With NoOSHACompliance, of course.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* The ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' add-on "The Pitt" gives up what may be the world's last functional steel mill, staffed by slaves in loincloths and sadistic criminals as their foreman. The leader, Ashur, hopes to use the industry provided by the mill to build a self-sufficient empire.
* VideoGame/MaxPayne blasts through one of these in the third act of his first game. Apart from the other dangerous elements of the Cold Steel Foundry, he also has to deal with hired mercenaries and laser tripmines because it's a front for production of Valkyr [[spoiler:as well as having a military bunker underneath the plant.]]
* In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' Batman goes inside Sionis Steel Mill, the first time through a chimney which there's a pool of molten metal below and second time trough the cooling tunnels with rivers of liquid nitrogen, the factory also serves as Joker's main hideout.
** In the prequel ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOrigins'' the Sionis Steel Mill appears again. However, it is not active, merely acting as a front for Black Mask's drug production facility. [[spoiler: Batman comes here to rescue Black Mask from the Joker, fighting and defeating Copperhead in the process.]]
* In VideoGame/AnarchyReigns, at Black Side campaign, Jack fights Big Bull in a foundry. Molten metal acts as a environmental hazard.
* [[ThatOneLevel Stage 4]] of ''VideoGame/RType III''. Filled with compactors, and a ''hellish'' maze of molten metal. Which you have to navigate through ''twice''.
* The ''[=TNT=]/Evilution'' half of ''[[{{VideoGame/Doom}} Final Doom]]'' features a level inside what could pass as a steel mill, aptly named 'Mill', with hydraulic anvils, super-hot liquid that occasionally burns through a Radiation Shielding Suit and what barely passes for the top of an electric arc furnace.
** There is also a map call "Steel Works" which is exactly what it says in the map title.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series has [[VideoGame/MegaManX1 Flame Mammoth's]] stage as well as [[VideoGame/MegaManX8 Burn Rooster's]] stage, both of which are reploid/mechaniloid recycling plants. Several of the scrapped robots in the former are ''still functioning'' as they're squashed by a compactor. Naturally, both of them are the fire-themed stages in their games, and Flame Mammoth and Burn Rooster are the [[PlayingWithFire fire-using Mavericks]] of their games.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Homer, worried about Bart's manliness after interactions with a gay shop-keeper, takes him to one of these mills to show him examples of masculinity. It backfired big time as it quickly [[CrowningMomentOfFunny converts into a gay disco.]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'', Phil tells the kids about a haunted train that supposedly takes unwitting passengers to {{Hell}} at midnight. Naturally, the kids check it out for themselves. It turns out that the train ''is'' real, but it goes to a steel mill (presumably to pick up or drop off workers and/or supplies), not hell. [[spoiler: But there ''is'' also an actual haunted train driven by the ghost of a crazy engineer.]]


[[folder:Real Life]]
* RealLife steel mills are the TropeMakers for DangerousWorkplace. On the other hand, the immensely hazardous occupational conditions and the hard physical work are usually compensated with very high pay.
* The genre HeavyMetal has gotten its name from Sheffield, UK, where the genre was born. Sheffield was the centre of UK steel production in the 1960s and 1970s.
* RobertDeNiro worked as a steelworker under an assumed name before filming the ''Deer Hunter'', to get a grip of the steelworker's daily life.
* Tony Iommi worked in a Sheffield steel mill before going HeavyMetal on Music/BlackSabbath fulltime.