American Brass

The Buffalo Copper & Brass Rolling Mills Company was established in 1906 at the corner of Sayre Street and Military Road in Buffalo, New York. At the time, the facility was the largest brass rolling mill in the United States. In 1917, it was purchased by the American Brass Company. The Anaconda Copper Mining Company acquired American Brass in 1922 in order to integrate its mining business into copper and brass manufacturing. For over forty years, American Brass was a subsidiary company of Anaconda. In 1977, both Anaconda and American Brass were acquired by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). After years of declining profits, ARCO sold American Brass to the Buffalo Brass Company. American Brass profits increased, and in 1990, it was acquired by Outokumpu Oyj, a Finnish mining company. In 2005, Outokumpu sold American Brass to the Swedish investment firm Nordic Capital, and it was renamed Luvata Buffalo. In 2011, the facility was acquired by Aurubis AG, a German copper company. Throughout its history, the American Brass Buffalo plant manufactured brass and copper products, including anodes, sheets, strips, tubes, wires, connectors and military ammunition casings. It currently employs around 600 people.

Asbestos was incorporated into numerous materials at American Brass, including refractory materials, asbestos rope, electrical wire insulation, gaskets, pipe covering, insulating cement, transite pipe and block insulation. Workers who handled asbestos materials or worked in the vicinity of others who did are at risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

During manufacturing processes at American Brass, workers utilized dozens of electrical furnaces in order to melt, anneal and soften metals. The interiors of the electrical furnaces were lined with asbestos-containing refractory materials, which protected the furnace from degrading. Asbestos-containing refractory materials are capable of resisting high temperatures, but the refractory materials deteriorated after constant use and required replacement. During the removal and application of refractory materials, asbestos-containing dust and fibers became airborne, which workers inhaled.

Electrical wiring that supplied power to the furnaces was also insulated with an asbestos-woven jacket in order to protect the wire from high temperatures. In copper and brass molds, asbestos rope was used as a packing material in order to ensure that molten metal did not fall into the gaps between the molds.

Asbestos-containing materials were also utilized in maintenance and repair procedures at the American Brass facility in Buffalo. Steam boilers, pipes, valves and pumps were covered with asbestos-containing insulation. Asbestos gaskets were used to ensure a tight seal between flanges of valves, pumps and pipes. In high-temperature areas of the facility, transite pipe was utilized as an electrical conduit. Transite pipe was composed of cement and asbestos. During maintenance and repair procedures, workers removed worn pipe covering or block insulation; scraped gaskets from flanges; and replaced damaged transite pipes. These processes released asbestos-containing dust into the air, which workers inhaled.

Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at American Brass in Buffalo, New York, and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us regarding your legal rights.

* Image above provided by: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-6

Photo Gallery

#72 Brass Mill Slitter at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-57
Annealing furnaces at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-33
Rotary milling cutters, used to remove oxidized material from strip surfaces. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-27
Quench tank, upcoiler and trimmer at the end of #43 Hot Roll. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-21
American Brass (now known as Aurubis Buffalo), Buffalo, New York
Runner boxes awaiting maintenance. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-12
Interior of the #84 press at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-45
A holding furnace pours molten copper into three vertical molds submerged in water beneath the floor. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-58
An overhead view of #4 Copper Station at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-49
Presses in the Press Shop stamp out shell and cartridge casings for the United States military at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction N
Strand annealing tower at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-35
Entry Stand A of #44 Breakdown Mill. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-30
Roll-grinding lathe at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-23
The main drive motor for #43 hot roll. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-15
An overhead view of the casting shop, bag house and reroll bay at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-48
Raw copper slabs used in casting operations at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-1
A display of bullet jackets and cartridge casings produced at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-42
Bales of scrap metal, also known as "cabbages". Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-5
#72 Brass Mill Slitter at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-37
Narrow-Gauge #40 Roll at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-32
An overhead view of the Reroll Bay at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-26
#43 Hot Roll Run-Out Line. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-19
American Brass (now known as Aurubis Buffalo), Buffalo, New York
A side view of #3 Station at American Brass, with newly cast "cakes" of brass awaiting retrieval from their molds. Image Credit: Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number
Scrap ejector for the #84 press at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-44
Scrap metal being fed into a baler in order to prepare the metal for melting. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-3
Brass tubing is welded together on the Seamless Tube Line at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-39
Annealing furnaces at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-34
The discharge end of the milling line at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-29
Work rolls and backup rolls are dressed at the roll grinder. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-22
The charging side of #130 reheat furnace. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-14
The Bag House collects dust and fumes from casting operations at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-46
Molten metal was transferred from an electric melting furnace to a holding furnace by means of a runner box. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-51
A close-up of presses in the Press Shop at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-41
A close-up view of raw copper slabs used at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-2
#47 Finishing Mill at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-36
#44 Breakdown Mill delivery stand. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-31
An overhead view of the Reroll Bay. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-59
Strip being processed on #43 hot roll run-out line. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-56
An overhead view of the original brass mill, the tube mill and the copper mill at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,
A holding furnace pours molten copper into three vertical molds submerged in water beneath the floor. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-52
Loading reel and strip stock feeder for the #84 press at American Brass in Buffalo, New York. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-43
An overhead view of scrap metal being fed into a baling machine. Image Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number NY,15-BUF,25-4