With its beginnings in the early 19th century, the iron and steel industry played a key role in transforming both Pennsylvania and the nation. Coatesville, Pennsylvania is central to this important story. It was here, in 1825, that a female entrepreneur named Rebecca Lukens began managing the mill and created a successful iron-making operation on the Brandywine River.
Since that time, Coatesville has been the site of an unbroken chain of innovation and improvement in the making of iron and steel, from the rolling of plate for America's first iron-hulled vessel in 1825, through improvements in the making of armor plate steel that helped America defend itself in war, to innovations in steel technology that provided the framework of many modern skyscrapers including the World Trade Center. The entrepreneurial creativity of the early steel pioneers has continued right up to the present day in Coatesville.