On this day, December 27 in the year 1883, one of the American giants in the steel industry was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. His name was Cyrus S. Eaton, the founder of Republic Steel Corporation.
Cyrus Eaton was the son of a general store owner. Intending to become a Baptist minister, he went to study philosophy and graduated in 1905. Minister he did not become. Instead, he started his career working in a gas company in Ohio, United States of America where he became acquainted with John D. Rockefeller. Two years later, he returned to Canada and started his own business building gas utilities after securing franchises for the western provinces of the country. In 1913, he organized Continental Gas & Electric Corporation after consolidating his gas and oil operations.
In 1916, Cyrus went back to Cleveland, Ohio and joined a banking firm. Later, he established a closed end investment firm as a holding company for his businesses. He set up Republic Steel Company in 1927 and grew it to become the third largest steel company in the US. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, he lost control of his businesses but bounced back during the Second World War and after.
In the 1950s, Cyrus invested in railway stocks and got control of Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. He also became chairman of West Kentucky Coal Company in 1953.
Cyrus Eaton died in 1979 at the age of 95. He married twice and had seven children. He won the Lenin Peace prize in 1960 for his efforts at rapprochement with the former Soviet Russia.