Alexander Lyman Holley
Born July 20 1832 – Died January 29 1882
Improvement in the Manufacture of Iron and Steel by the Bessemer or
Patent No. 86,303
Alexander Holley was responsible for important technological developments in
the American steel industry during the
After Holley bought the American rights to Bessemer's patent, he set up
a steelworks at Troy, New York, in 1865. There, he developed the most
important improvement to Bessemer’s process – the "Holleybottom," a
removable section at the base of Holley's Bessemer converters. Due to the
extreme heat of the steelmaking process, the brick bottoms of the converters
would break down quickly and have to be replaced. A traditional Bessemer
converter had to cool down before workers could fix it, taking additional
time and fuel to reheat the converter. Holley's swappable converter bottom
allowed replacement without cooling the entire converter, increasing
productivity over the traditional design.
Holley also contributed to the industry's development through his active
participation in professional societies such as the American Society for
Mechanical Engineers, which he helped found.
Born in Lakeville, Connecticut, Holley received his first patent for a
steam engine cut off while still in college. After graduating from Brown
University in 1853, while on a trip to investigate armor making, Holley
discovered Henry Bessemer's steelmaking process.