The Hagley Library has been awarded a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve The Romance of Iron and Steel. A 1939 film sponsored by the American Rolling Mill Company (ARMCO) and produced by Cinecraft Productions. The film follows the entire steel production process, from mining ore to the manufacturing facility to the finished product.
The film is part of the Culley family collection of Cinecraft Productions and among the relatively small number of movies saved by Ray Culley, who founded Cinecraft Productions in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife Betty in 1938. The Romance of Iron and Steel was one of the first films the newly founded company produced. The film includes an incredible tracking shot following a slab of molten steel through a continuous rolling mill that transforms it into a piece of sheet steel as “thin as a dime.” [You can watch it here]
Hagley received the same grant last year to preserve The Heart Cleveland, also from the Cinecraft collection, but that film preceded the company's start [Read more here]. The Romance of Iron and Steel is the first film produced by Cinecraft to receive support from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
The funds provided by the grant will support the production of a new 16mm negative and print on modern film stock. The restored copies will go into Hagley’s cold storage for long-term preservation. In addition, we will produce a new digital copy from the restored print.
To watch The Romance of Iron and Steel, you can see it in Hagley's Digital Archive.
Check out www.hagley.org/cinecraft for more information about the Cinecraft collection.
For more information about the National Film Preservation Foundation, visit www.filmpreservation.org/.
Kevin J. Martin is the Curator of Archives and the Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Audiovisual and Digital Collections at Hagley Museum and Library.