The Tredegar Iron Works had several rolling mills, which produced rails, bars to be made into spikes, connecting plates for rails, merchant bar iron, and plates. The Tredegar rolling mill's most famous work was the plates made for the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia
.Power is transferred from a turbine or waterwheel to a set of gears, which drive a series of stands of rolls. Heated metal is elongated and shaped as it passes through each set of rolls. The rolls here, called roughing rolls, shape the metal first.
Edward Wade, pictured in the foreground with his tongs, was the son of James Wade, who ran the Tredegar mill during the Civil War. The rolling mills were highly dependent on skilled workers like the Wades.