The history of steel – 5 fascinating facts


The history of steel – 5 fascinating facts

At A13 Steel, we know everything there is to know about steel. It’s one of the many reasons that our valued clients choose us as their supplier of choice for steel in Essex, Kent or Surrey.   You might be interested to know some facts about the history of steel and the superb product that we have come to know and use.

  • Steel actually dates back to over 4000 years ago; in fact it can be traced back to the Iron Age. Where bronze was previously the most used metal, it was soon realised that iron would be a much better choice for tools and weapons.
  • In the 17th century, although iron was regularly used, there was a requirement for more of a versatile metal. And it wasn’t until the 19th century that due to the development of the railroads, that metallurgists were looking to find an alternative metal that would replace the brittle and inefficient one that they were using.
  • 1856 was a very important date in the history of steel. This was when Henry Bessemer found a way to use oxygen to reduce the amount or carbon content in iron.  And this saw the start of steel industry that we at A13 Steel have come to know.
  • If we jump forward to 1900, this was when the Bessemer process was pretty much overtaken by the open-hearth process. This involved producing steel from pig iron using large shallow furnaces.  This meant that the steel industry evolved to a much cheaper metal that we at A13 Steel have come to enjoy today.
  • Today most of steel is produced in basic oxygen facilities across the globe. In the 1960s, steel producers discovered that they could separate oxygen from nitrogen on an industrial scale which meant that they were able to develop the first oxygen furnaces.  However, it was soon discovered that these open-hearth factories weren’t as cost-effective as previously thought.  The final open hearth factory closed in 2001 in China.

At A13 Steel, we’re proud to supply a wealth of steel for all your construction projects.  If you’re looking for advice on your steel requirement, contact us on 0203 741 7641 , visit or email

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