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.
Nuclear Corp. suffered through several money-losing years and was facing bankruptcy in 1965, when it installed Vulcraft's top executive, Ken Iverson, as president, and Nuclear Corp's controller, Sam Siegel, as financial vice president. The new management quickly sold many of the company's wide-ranging operations to focus on profitable Vulcraft. The company moved its corporate office from Phoenix to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1966.