Joe Magarac, the legendary folk hero of the Pennsylvania steel industry, first appeared in print in a 1931 Scribner's Magazine article by Owen Francis.
Credit: Courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
First introduced to the public in a 1931 issue of Scribner's Magazine, Joe Magarac became a management friendly Pittsburgh steelworker folk hero. According to writer Owen Francis's story, Magarac–which means "donkey" in Croatian–worked 24 hours a day, 365 days a week; could squeeze out railroad rails from between his fingers; and could appear out of nowhere to protect steel workers from molten steel and other dangers. Magarac, who was made of solid steel, then melted himself in a Bessemer furnace for material to build a new mill. A later tale suggests that today he waits in an abandoned mill, waiting for the day when the furnaces burn again.