Factories and pollution go hand in hand. As steel industries sprang across the world, the level of pollution in the air began to rise. With no research and debate about health issues due to air pollution, it was important to devise new methods to manufacture steel and to keep the pollution in check.
In 1912, Harry Brearly, a British metallurgist, while experimenting with chromium, found that a layer of that metal on steel made steel resistant to weathering and acid. It was the perfect solution for preserving the life of gun barrels.
Charles Schwab, president of the United States Steel Corporation, was now president of another company called Bethlehem Steel. Two months after the start of the First World War, Schwab got an order for $40 million worth of weaponry from England, all of which was a secret.
Little did the world know that the introduction of a new steelmaking technology was poised to revolutionize steel industry. The steel mills in other countries were lagging behind the United States, who still remained the king of steel.
There were vast untapped resources of iron in the West. The United States produced only one-fifth of the total iron that England had produced. Post the Civil War, however, American industrialists focused on the Bessemer process and gave birth to a steel industry that would reap more profits than the Gold Rush of 1849. American steel would be used to build roads, bridges, and railway tracks across the country.
There were two breakthroughs in Europe that put the continent on the map with regards to steel production. England was never the same again.
Europe was experiencing an iron boom, thanks to the invention of blast furnaces. The hourglass-shaped contraption was 10-feet tall and had two bellows at the bottom on either side.
Gone were the days of the ancient iron and steel weapons. Fast forward to the age of powerful and beautifully-crafted swords. Swords were being made around the world.
Believe it or not, the first pieces of iron found on Earth actually fell from the sky! It all began when British archaeologist Howard Carter found the infamous King Tutankhamun’s tomb and noticed the iron dagger.
Steel, as we know it, is widely used to build skyscrapers, bridges, and other infrastructure. But there is a long history associated with the production of steel, and the numerous iterations and trial-and-errors it took to perfect the product. Modern steel contains 98-99% of iron, with rest being composed of carbon, which gives steel its tensile strength.