The History of Steel: Part One

fabricated steel building and beamsSteel is one of the most common metals that EVS fabricates. Archeologists and historians believe that steel has been being produced for almost 4000 years; this makes sense, as that puts the timeline at the beginning of the Iron Age — iron being the primary element used to manufacture steel.

The history of steel is long and fascinating. While we have no idea exactly who it was that actually “invented” steel, examining its origin and viewing its production and implementation from its earliest days can help give some context around why exactly it is that steel has been incredibly important to multiple civilizations through the centuries, and remains so to this day.

The Beginnings of Steel

Starting in the 13th century BC, archeologists have found evidence that blacksmiths were the first to begin to synthesize steel. Like many inventions, it was likely a happy accident, the result of iron being left too long in coal furnaces which contain high levels of carbon, which is a component of steel. The carbon made the iron stronger, harder and more durable.

About 700 years later, in the 6th century BC, “wootz” steel was born in India, which is a beautifully textured metal that is still sought-after to this day. “Wootz” steel is the result of combining wrought iron and charcoal during the smelting process. 600 years later (around 300 AD), India’s neighbor China began to produce steel in true mass quantities — the first country to do so. Damascus steel — a very hard type of steel primarily used for sword or knife blades due to its ability to be honed to a razor-like edge — made its debut in the Middle East in the 11th century.

The Advent of Modern Steel

The 18th century was an important one for steel — possibly the most important. It was during this time that steel began to garner the respect it would eventually have as an extremely useful and valuable material. Come back next week and we’ll discuss the impact of steel on the modern world.


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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