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Charles Sheeler, American, 1883–1965, Ford Plant, River Rouge, Slag Buggy, 1927; gelatin silver print. Courtesy the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Lane Collection.

In this image, Sheeler’s technical expertise is evident in the careful and dramatic depiction of light that gives shape and weight to dark forms in the composition. During steelmaking, molten iron is poured into hot metal cars that take it to the other areas of the Rouge. The impurities, called slag, are skimmed off and emptied into large receptacles called slag buggies or slag pots.