“Midday darkness”: Smoke pollution in Pittsburgh, PA, circa 1940.
flipFlip to Wastes dumped into the Bridgeport Canal, Bridgeport, PA, October 25, 1928.
Close Window

Pittsburgh's famous smoke-filled skies.

Credit: Smoke Control Lantern Slides, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

In the mid-1800s Pittsburgh's famous smoke-filled skies were a symbol of its thriving businesses and economic promise. By the early 1900s, however, the smoke pollution from its steel mills and other industrial plants was so bad that the city suffocated for days beneath darkened skies. In 1941, "the Smoky City" passed its first effective smoke control ordinance, but World War II would delay its enforcement until the late 1940s.

Back to Top