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Steel

At the age of 24, Polish-born mechanical engineer Tadeusz Sendzimir found himself in Shanghai, China, after escaping his homeland to avoid the draft for World War I. In 1918 he opened China’s first nail and screw factory, using jury-rigged drill presses. He spent his spare time walking along Shanghai’s canals and riverfronts, visiting machine shops and scrap iron dealers. He’d bargain in pidgin English with the shop’s assistant while the owner snoozed peacefully in the back, clutching an opium pipe.

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