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1855: Bessemer Steel Process

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Innovation: Bessemer Steel Process
Location: England, U.K
Year: 1855
By: Henry Bessemer

In 1855, Henry Bessemer received a patent for the first inexpensive process for the mass-production of steel. Although the process was independently discovered in 1851 by William Kelly and used outside of Europe for many years prior, Bessemer was the first to use the process on an industrial scale. The Bessemer process involves the removal of impurities from iron through oxidation and blasting air through molten iron.  This process revolutionized the steel industry by cutting manufacturing costs by more than 75 percent and decreasing the time and labor requirements for steel production. Before the Bessemer process, steel was far too expensive to use as a primary material in the production of bridges and buildings. During this time, wrought iron and cast iron were used. Wrought iron is made by heating iron until it reaches a red and softer state, and then manually shaping it into the desired shape. Cast iron is made by melting pig iron, and then pouring it into a mold until it cools. Both wrought iron and cast iron are generally stronger and more rust-resistant, but the cheaper cost of producing mild steel surpasses those qualities.  `

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Written by Nathan L Sanchez

October 7, 1855 at 11:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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