Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Timeline: Iron and Steel

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1620 Dud Dudley succeeds in making iron by using coal / coke

1709 Abraham Darby introduced coke as a fuel for smelting

1751 Benjamin Huntsman invented the process of producing crucible steel

1759 Dowlais Ironworks opens and by 1815 the company was the largest iron and steel producer in the world

1760 John Roebuck founder of the Carron Co ironworks used coal to make cast iron into malleable iron "by the action of a hollow pit-coal fire" urged by a powerful artificial blast.

1765 Cyfarthfa Ironworks opened and by 1807 was the largest ironworks in the world but was later overtaken by Dowlais

1766 Thomas and George Cranage developed the use of the reverberatory furnace for the production of wrought iron from cast iron.

c1766 John Wilkinson promoted the use of cast iron where other materials had previously been used and used raw coal as a substitute for coke in the production of cast iron

1783 Peter Onions patented a puddling process where the iron is stirred to separate out impurities and extract the higher quality wrought iron

1784 Henry Cort patented the puddling process for refining iron ore

1828 James Beaumont Neilson invented the hot blast process for iron furnaces

1837 David Thomas (1794-1882) pioneer in using anthracite for iron production

1839 Josiah Marshall Heath introduced the use of manganese in steel-making

1856 Henry Bessemer introduced the Bessemer process for the manufacture of steel

1856 Robert Forester Mushet found an inexpensive way to make high quality steel by adding ferro-manganese

1867 William Siemens succeeded in developing the regenerative furnace for steel making

1868 Robert Forester Mushet produced the first commercial steel alloy by adding a small amount of tungsten to the molten steel in the crucible

1878 Sidney Gilchrist Thomas invented a process for dealing with the phosphorus in pig iron with the help of his cousin, Percy Gilchrist

1880s Robert Hadfield developed the first alloy steels in the form of high manganese steels, very tough but ductile; the first non-magnetic steel.

1894 British Aluminium Co formed

1912 Harry Brearley discovered and subsequently industrialized a martensitic stainless steel alloy

1924 William Herbert Hatfield developed 18/8 stainless steel

1951 Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain in the nationalisation of 92 companies by acquisition

1967 British Steel formed

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Sources of Information