The History of Steel: Part Two

steel fabrication on wallSteel, in particular, stainless steel, is one of the most common metals that EVS fabricates. Archeologists and historians believe that steel has been produced for almost 4000 years — from the start of the Iron Age.

With its long history, there have been a number of moments that have been of particular significance in the progression of steel to its current point in time as one of the most important commodities in the world. Last week we looked at the beginnings of steel, and today, we’ll examine one of the most important periods for this material: the 18th century through the modern era.

Steel in the 1700-1800s

The 18th century brought a number of inventions and disruptions that would greatly impact the evolution of steel. These include the invention of the first successful steam engine, the development of the crucible steel technique, the introduction of steam power into steel mills, and the invention of the steel roller.

The 1800s, however, were even more vital to steel’s eventual rise to the place it holds today around the world. This century ushered in the American agricultural boom of the 1830s; the introduction of the Bessemer process in 1855 — the first inexpensive industrial process for the mass production of steel from molten iron; and the invention of the open hearth furnace in 1865. Just a few years later, the end of the American Civil War led to enormous growth in the U.S.’ production of steel. This same period saw the invention of tungsten steel — a type of air-hardening steel — by Robert Mushet. This meant that for the first time, steel wouldn’t need to be “quenched” before it hardened, a huge advance for the industry.

Steel from the 1900s-Today

The open hearth process of steel production that was invented in the mid-1800s eventually made steel both less expensive to make and of higher quality. This directly contributed to the Industrial Revolution, much of which can be credited to capitalists and industrialists like Charles Schwab and Andrew Carnegie. In fact, when Andrew Carnegie founded US Steel Corporation in 1901, it was the first company ever launched with an initial valuation of over $1 billion.

The 20th century also ushered in the age of the automobile, and was greatly fueled by two World Wars that made steel an absolute necessity to many governments well into the 1940s. This boom was aided by the invention of electric arc furnace steelmaking, a process that by the early 1940s was being used for the vast majority of steel manufacturing. Finally, in the 1960s, Oxygen steelmaking made its debut as an even more efficient process, leading to the closure of the last remaining open-hearth facilities by the very beginning of the 21st century, in 2001. 


EVS Metal is an American precision metal fabricator headquartered in Riverdale, NJ. We utilize the latest technology to cut, bend, weld and finish stand-alone items as well as parts for integration or assembly into more complex products. Our four ISO 9001:2015-certified locations comprise over 250,000 square feet of vertically-integrated manufacturing space and feature the most modern equipment available, from welding robots and laser cutting solutions to automated powder coating lines.

We serve a diverse customer base across North America, providing a range of services from ITAR-compliant, quick-turn prototypes to high-volume production runs. Request a personalized metal fabrication quote online, or call (973) 839-4432 to speak with a specialist today.

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