Tadeusz Sendzimir (originally Sędzimir¹,
July 15, 1894, Lwów, — September 1, 1989, Jupiter, Florida²) was an Polish engineer and inventor of international renown with 120 patents in miningand metallurgy, 73 of which were awarded to him in the United States³.
His name has been given to revolutionary methods of processing
steeland metals used in every industrialized nation of the world. Sendzimir was a holder of the Polish Golden Cross of Merit(from 1938), the Bessemer Gold Medal(from 1965) and the Brinell Gold Medalfrom the Royal Academy of Technical Sciences in Stockholm(from 1974). On the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Libertyhe was one of those prominent immigrants honored for their contributions to America.
In 1990 Poland's large steel plant in
Kraków(formerly the LeninSteelworks) was renamed to Tadeusz Sendzimir Steelworks. The AIST Tadeusz Sendzimir Memorial Medalwas established in the same year.
Sendzimir was the eldest son of Kazimierz Sędzimir and Wanda Jaskółowska. Fascinated by machinery as a child, he built his own camera at the age of 13. After studying at the 4th Classical Gymnasium ("Gimnazjum Klasyczne") in Lwów he entered the
PolytechnicInstitute ("Politechnika Lwowska"). However when Lwów was captured by Russian troops the Polytechnic Institute has been closed and Sendzimir stayed unemployed. He decided to work in Russian army, but after its retreat was forced to evacuate to Kiev. He worked in auto services in Kievand in the Russian-American Chamber of commerce where he learned Russian and English.
Russian Revolution of 1917forced Sendzimir to flee to Vladivostok, then to Shanghai, where Sendzimir built the first factory in Chinawhich produced screws, nails and wire. Financial support was provided by the Russian-Asian Bank, headed by Poles at the time (Władysław Jezierski and Zygmunt Jastrzębski).
Immigration and researches
In 1922 Sendzimir married Barbara Alferieff. His first son Michael was born two years later. Designing and making his own machines, Sendzimir began experimenting with a new way to galvanize steel. Despite galvanizing, the products still tended to oxidize. Sendzimir discovered that the problem involved the
zincbonding to a thin layer of iron hydroxideon the surface rather than the pure iron.
In 1929 Sendzimir tried to interest American industrialists in his method, but met with distrust at the start of the
Great Depression. Sendzimir arrived in San Francisco, Californiain the next year. Returning to Poland in 1931, he obtained support for the construction of the first industrial-scale galvanizing unit and put into operation several cold strip mills. The idea has been explained by him as follows: "Let's imagine a piece of a hard pastry. We are rolling it on the molding-board to decrease its thickness. However it would be faster and easily if we ask any householder to stretch it by holding the edges".
A steel mill in
Butler, Pennsylvaniawas founded by Sendzimir in 1936. By 1938 Armco Steelbecame interested in his work and they formed a partnership, the Armzen Company, to oversee the worldwide expansion of his galvanizing and mill technology. In the spring of 1939 Sendzimir left Parisand established his residence in Middletown, Ohio. Sendzimir's patented rolling mill could roll very hard materials down to very light gauges. The US company, T. Sendzimir, Inc., was established by Sendzimir in the 1940s in Waterbury, Connecticut.
In 1945 Sendzimir married Bertha Bernoda and became a
USAcitizen the following year. After the war was over Sendzimir's achievements and his personality as a foreign immigrant were ignored by SocialistPoland and he wasn't mentioned in the "Encyklopedia Powszechna" (Universal Encyclopedia). The situation changed when Edward Gierek, a new leader of the Polish United Workers' Party, came to power. Sendzimir was awarded an Officer Cross of the Order Polonia Restituta("Krzyż Oficerski Orderu Odrodzenia Polski").
In 1975 Sendzimir gained the title of doctor "honoris causa" from the
AGH University of Science and Technologyin Kraków. Sendzimir's successful methods of galvanizing steel eventually were implemented in the first Z-mill rolling siliconsteel, making it pliable for use in aircraft radar. From 1953 until 1989, he introduced the first productive Z-mill to Great Britain, to Japanand Canadain the 1950s and 1960s. In 1974 Sendzimir invented a spiral steel looper used in the United States and Japan.
With companies in 3 countries up to 90 percent of the world's
stainless steelpassed through the Sendzimir processby the early 1980s. Poland, France, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada have purchased his steel mills and technologies over the years. Most notably, Sendzimir was a major financial and personal supporter of the Kościuszko Foundation, the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of Americaand Alliance College in Pennsylvania. Sendzimir died after a massive stroke and was buried by his family in a zinc-plated coffin made according to his technology.
# As of the 17th century version. The surname was changed after the second arrival to the United States.
# According to "Polski Słownik Biograficzny" he died in
# [http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~sarmatia/195/mitchell.html Sarmatian Review XV.1] .
* "I have been carrying family and the only my capital - a new method of zinc-plating to another coast of the Pacific"
Sendzimir planetary mill
* [http://www.sendzimir.org.pl/ The Sendzimir Foundation site]
* [http://www.isherman.com/Inventory/SZM-_Sendzimir_Mills/szm-_sendzimir_mills.htm Sendzimir mills]
* Vanda Sendzimir. "Steel Will: The Life of Tad Sendzimir". New York, Hippocrene Books, 1994.
* M. Kalisz. "Walcownia znaczy Sendzimir". "Przekrój", 1973, nr. 1468.
* O. Budrewicz. "Ocynkowane życie". "Perspektywy", 1974, nr. 38.
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