Table of contents for History of Steel

  1. Steel History
  2. Early Modern Steel
  3. Modern Steel Making

For the first post on this site it will not be about steel buildings, but about the history of steel it’s self.  No one really knows exactly when and where steel was first produced however some of the first steel that we know of comes from East Africa dating all the way back to 1400 BC , in the 4th century steel weapons we produced in the Iberian peninsula.  Under the Han Dynasty in china in 202 BC to 220 AD steel was created by melting together Cast Iron with Wrought Iron to make a Carbon – Intermediate – Steel.

          Another type of steel was produced in India and Sri Lanka around 300 BC.  called Wootz Steel and Damascus Steel,  Wootz Steel is Characterized by a pattern of bands and or sheets of micro carbides with in a tempered martensite or pearlite matrix.  Wootz Steel was widely exported throughout the region and became famous in the Middle East,  where it became known as Damascus Steel.  Damascus Steel is a hot forged steel used in Middle Eastern Sword making around 1100 -1700 AD.  Damascus Swords were legendary for there strength and sharpness,  legend has it they could cut through rock and cut through European swords that were of lesser strength.  The formula to create Damascus Steel has been lost in history.

         Before the advent of modern metal alloys cast and hot rolled to construction beam sizes, sword makers of antiquity produced steel by the handful. Melting and casting a good alloy the size of a sword was difficult. Hollywood has described a fictional event where a crusader throws down his cast sword that shattered, for a damascene sword, taking home the folded hard and soft steels, changing European sword making forever. In actuality, folding/forging was well known. But this discovery of better metallurgy happened at the beginning of the age of alchemy, and so the legend of Damascus Steel was born.  Recent studies have suggested that carbon nanotubes were included in its structure, which might explain some of its legendary qualities, though given the technology available at that time, they were produced by chance rather than by design

Crucible Steel was produced around the 9th and 10th century AD. in Merv. 

There is evidence that in Song China in the 11th Century production of Steel using two techniques: a “berganesque” method that produced inferior, inhomogeneous steel and a precursor to the modern Bessemer process that utilized partial de carbonization via repeated forging under a cold blast.

more on the history of steel tomorrow

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