David Baker played a pivotal role in the creation of modern Newcastle - and yet his name is not familiar to most people.
A strong clue lies in the 98th anniversary early next week of the first steel tapped from the open hearth furnace at the fledgling Newcastle Steelworks, at Port Waratah.
That watershed moment on April 9, 1915, was followed by the rolling of the plant's first steel-rail product on April 24, 1915.
The construction of Newcastle Steelworks began in 1913 with bullock teams delivering timber to the unlikely mangrove-swamp site. Most of these mudflats were covered by water at high tide and the land had to be raised by three metres.
By August 1914, when World War I broke out, the infant steelworks was still only about half complete.
Built with American expertise under the guidance of consulting engineer David Baker, of Philadelphia, the site would grow over time to become the largest integrated steelworks in what was then called the British Empire.
That was in 1939. By then, BHP's Newcastle works had provided about one-third of the rails used in the Trans-Australia railway across the Nullarbor and about a quarter of the steel used to erect the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
This new Australian steelworks was built out of the need by famous silver-lead miner, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Ltd (or BHP), to diversify or slowly die - and the knowledge that there was money to be made. For in 1910, the still new nation of Australia imported almost 600,000 tons of total steel products, including 150,000 tons of steel rail line.
Before David Baker's arrival, Newcastle had become a place of great poverty as most of the once busy inner-city mines had closed. However, a hopelessly waterlogged site alongside the Hunter River held the key to the city's future prosperity.
The American steel expert had been lured to Australia by BHP in 1912. After extensive study, he had recommended Newcastle for a new steel-industry site over Port Kembla because of the superior Hunter coal and better port facilities.
Also, since 1896, BHP had owned 10 hectares of old smelter land fronting the Hunter River. A further 100 hectares of waterfront land was later added. Mounds of BHP's unwanted copper slag were then used to build roads across the marsh.
Baker oversaw the birth of the Newcastle Steelworks from 1913, then continued as its first works manager from 1915 to 1924. At his official farewell, he said he had been "astonished" at what had been accomplished.
Even though Newcastle Steelworks finally closed in 1999, the main traffic artery through the vast, now empty industrial site is still called David Baker Drive.
It had been a Herculean task for the builders to construct the steelworks in two years - almost on schedule - by reclaiming the tidal flats. Even the pile-driving equipment had to be floated in by punt.
And by early March 1915, when BHP's No. 1 blast furnace was "blown in" in preparation for the making of steel, the furnace and stoves rested on foundations supported by 567 piles, most probably 30 feet (nine metres) deep.
They were the first of at least 50,000 piles driven into the bog where reclamation work would continue for more than 60 years.
Demand for Newcastle steel was so great that by 1918 a second blast furnace was blown in, followed by a third in 1921 and a fourth in July 1963.
The famous Mayfield mansion Bella Vista was built as a residence for Baker. After retiring, he returned to the US to become BHP's consulting engineer. He died there in 1942.
His BHP obituary stated that Newcastle Steelworks stood as a magnificent monument to his energy and vision.
But not all history is recorded. Official BHP company records show Newcastle BHP works manager David Baker having the first steel sample to roll off the production line, in 1915.
But possibly not, according to a neglected news item discovered recently by Paul Partridge from the Newcastle Herald library.
Dated 1987, it quoted Mrs Beryl Nix, of Carrington, who claimed that her father George Robertson had had that honour.
She said her father, a BHP worker, had cut pieces from the original steel sample. The first one went straight into his work bag, Mrs Nix said, and the second was presented to manager David Baker.
From his historic steel piece, George Robertson fashioned a charm of cross, heart and anchor, which she owned after he died in 1969 at the age of 97.
So Mrs Nix claimed.