Fascinating facts about Henry Bessemer inventor of
a process for the manufacture of steel, the Bessemer converter in 1855.
AT A GLANCE:
The process of
refining molten iron with blasts of air was accomplished by the British
inventor Sir Henry Bessemer who developed the Bessemer furnace, or
converter, in 1855. He was a prolific inventor, but is best known for
his process for the manufacture of steel. Modern steel-making
employs blast furnaces that are merely refinements of the furnaces used
by the old ironworkers.
HOW IT WORKS
DID YOU KNOW?
||Sir Henry Bessemer
||First to invent. Modern
||January 18, 1813
||March 15, 1898 in
Bessemer converter, or
furnace named after its Inventor
employs blast furnaces that are merely refinements of the furnaces
used by the old ironworkers. This process of refining molten iron
with blasts of air was accomplished by the Bessemer furnace, or
||16,082 (US) issued
Nov.11, 1856 - Manufacture of Iron and Steel
Bessemer, Henry Bessemer, Sir Henry Bessemer, William Kelly, Alexander
Holley, Andrew Carnegie, ARYS, Bessemer
furnace, Bessemer converter, Bessemer process, steel making, blast
furnace, SIPS, history, biography, inventor,
inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating
Young Inventors, A Class Act
from The Great Idea Finder
from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Henry Bessemer: Making Steel From Iron
by Kathleen Tracy / Library Binding: 48 pages / Mitchell Lane
Publishers (December 5, 2005)
The Bessemer process, a method to cheaply produce steel out of iron.
Steel's light weight and strength made it the perfect building
material for everything from buildings to railroad tracks. This is the
story of how a quiet, unschooled young man became one of the greatest
inventors of the 19th century
ON THE SCREEN:
American Steel, Built to Last
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History
Channel / Less than $25.00 / Also VHS
Its roots go back to the Ancient Egyptians, whose iron weapons helped
maintain an empire that lasted three millennia. But in the 1850s,
Englishmen Henry Bessemer invented a process that turned iron into
steel, and the world was changed forever. It became the foundation of the
corporate empires of Carnegie and Morgan; skyscrapers with skeletons of
steel scraped the heavens; steel rails, trains, ships, planes, and
automobiles built a transportation network unmatched in the world.
ON THE WEB:
Henry Bessemer Autobiography
It is an interesting fact that the statistics published by the Annales des
Mines for 1893 shows that it would take more than three years' production of
all the gold mines in the world to pay in gold for one year's production of
Bessemer steel. HTML version produced by Eric Hutton .
Bessemer, Man of Steel
Learn about some of Bessemer's other inventions.
Kelham Island Museum
The Bessemer Converter at Kelham Island Museum is one of only three
converters left in the world. It was used by the British Steel Corporation
in Workington until 1975, and was brought to the Museum in 1978 as an
example of the revolutionary steelmaking process which first took off in
From the American Experience series at PBS.
Bessemer's process was ten times faster than the previous methods and
used no fuel once the charge had been melted. It could make thirty tons
at once, rather than fifty pounds. From tech BBC.
Hall of Fame
Henry Bessemer, Born Jan 19 1813 - Died Mar 15 1898, Manufacture of Iron
and Steel Patent Number 16,082
American Iron and Steel Institute
American Iron and Steel Institute's mission is to promote steel as the
material of choice and to enhance the competitiveness of the North
American steel industry and its member companies
Alexander Holley Biography
In 1863, however, he purchased the U.S. rights to the Bessemer process for
manufacturing steel and soon pursued steel manufacturing almost to the
exclusion of all his many interests. In 1865, he built the first U.S. plant
employing the Bessemer process in Troy, N.Y., followed by one in Harrisburg,
inventor and engineer who developed the first process for manufacturing
steel inexpensively, leading to the development of the Bessemer converter.
In 1856, Henry Bessemer introduced a new method of producing steel, using a
special furnace called a converter. This development followed work done in
Kentucky USA, by William Kelly.
Henry Bessemer was a prolific inventor. See a complete listing of the
patents issued to him. It will be noticed that the patents
chiefly refer to four main subjects: The manufacture of glass, the
manufacture of iron and steel, improvements in ordnance, and the manufacture
WORDS OF WISDOM:
"I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem
inasmuch as I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to
control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that
whatever is, is right." - Sir Henry Bessemer
HOW IT WORKS:
The principle involved is that of oxidation of the impurities in the iron by
the oxygen of air that is blown through the molten iron; the heat of
oxidation raises the temperature of the mass and keeps it molten during
DID YOU KNOW?
- During the Crimean War Bessemer invented a new type of
- Bessemer made his first fortune selling "gold"
powder made from brass as a paint additive.
- Bessemer demonstrated considerable mechanical skill and
inventiveness early in life.
- Among the many honors of Bessemers life were a
Knighthood by the British crown and the Fellowship of the Royal Society.
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Sources in BOLD Type.
page revised May 15, 2006.
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