Nucor traces its origins to auto manufacturer Ransom E. Olds, who founded Oldsmobile and then, in 1905, REO Motor Car Company. The new company was an innovator, producing the first commercial cars with electric lights, an electric starter, and pneumatic tires.
Through a series of transactions, the company Olds founded eventually became, in 1955, Nuclear Corporation of America. By that time, the company was involved in the nuclear instrument and electronics business. Nuclear bought several companies over the next few years, including a South Carolina maker of steel joists and joist girders called Vulcraft Corp. that would soon provide the spark for the company's remarkable evolution.
The Bar mill opened in Darlington, South Carolina, in 1969. The first of several regional bar mills, it became the prototype for today's vast minimill industry and launched Nuclear Corp. into a wide range of steel businesses. In 1972, the company officially adopted the Nucor Corporation name, which was proposed by Sam Siegel.