before Henry Bessemer had been scarce. It was made only through
a costly and arduous process by artisans who created small batches
out of pig iron, and was used mainly to make tools and weapons.
Then came the Bessemer Converter, and with it a revolution in
manufacturing. For the steel manufacturing process he pioneered,
Henry Bessemer will be honored posthumously by being inducted
this year into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Henry Bessemer made it possible for unskilled workers to make
vast quantities of steel cheaply. His interest in steel came not
out of manufacturing, but an idea he had during the Crimean War
to make a new type of artillery using a spinning projectile. Existing
cannons for his artillery were not strong enough and the artillery
would make them explode, so he needed to find better materials.
Although England rejected his invention of spinning shells, Bessemer
happened to have lunch with Emperor Napoleon III, who liked the idea.
the process of perfecting the cannons for France by strengthening
the steel, Bessemer created the Bessemer Converter. The idea seemed
simple: an egg-shaped vat would hold molten iron and cold air
could be blown into perforations in the bottom to remove the carbon
and other impurities in the iron. Until his converter, it was
thought that cast iron had to be converted to wrought iron by
removing the carbon, and then converting to steel by re-adding
carbon--a painstaking process. Bessemer's process took only 20
minutes from start to finish, raising annual steel production
enormously and reducing cost dramatically.
3-Point Seat Belt
Ceramic Substrate For
ENIAC Data Translating Device
Bessemer Steel Process