19th Century Iron and Steel Making presentation (ASM, ACS, AIChE, ASME)
Richard G. Rateick, Jr., PE
Presented to the Chicago sections of ACS and AIChE January 15, 2021 and to the Fox Valley Chapter of ASME on February 17, 2021. I will present it again on March 15, 2021 to the Notre Dame chapter of ASM.
The 19th century was a time of great change in iron and steel making. Massive productivity improvements in iron making occurred starting early in the century with the invention of the hot air blast for the smelting of iron in the blast furnace. By mid-century, steel moved from being a luxury item, made manually and arduously in puddling furnaces, to becoming a commodity by way of invention of the Bessemer (Kelly?) converter and the Siemens-Martin or open hearth furnace. These technologies resulted in the building of great industrial empires. In this talk, I will use historical drawings and photographs to present this fascinating and sometimes sordid history along with the chemistry which added science to the art.