Stainless Steel History and Facts: Where Does It Really Come From?Blog | December 5th, 2018
Stainless steel belongs to the alloy family of steels and contains between 10-percent to 30-percent chromium. Also, it needs to have a low carbon content in order for it to be truly resistant to heat and corrosion. If you are like others are, you probably wonder who invented this durable metal and various other historical facts about it. That brings us to why we are here today. Below, you will discover a brief history about stainless steel that also include some of the talented people that helped create it as we know it today.
Origins of the Forerunners of Stainless Steel
The origins of this type of steel dates back to 1820 to 1821 when scientists, Stoddard, Farraday and Berthier along with others noted that the iron and chromium mix of alloys created a metal that was resistant to certain types of acids. However, this early group of scientists failed at producing high-chromium alloys since they did not take into consideration that these alloys also needed a low content of chromium. Research continued throughout the years until the first patented version of an early type of stainless steel, not as we know it today though, was created in 1875 by Woods and Clark, a pair of French scientists. It was an iron alloy that contained about 30-percent to 35-percent chromium along with two-percent tungsten. Then, in 1875, Brustlein, a French scientist, discovered that an alloy with a high percentage of chromium needs to contain no more than 0.15-percent carbon to have the characteristics of stainless steel.
Harry Brearley’s Contributions to the Invention of Stainless Steel
In 1912, Harry Brearley enters into the history of this durable metal when he was hired to provide a small arms manufacturer with a way to prolong the life of the barrels of its gun. Harry set forth experimenting with different combinations of steel alloys that contained chromium. Not only did here add played around with the chromium levels, but he also varied the amounts of carbon. He eventually came up with a steel that contained 0.24-percent carbon and 12.8-percent chromium, which is the true first form of stainless steel that resembles it as we know it today.
Of course, many improvements have been made over the years since 1913 to strengthen stainless steel. Today, it is used in a wide assortment of products. For further details about this metal and its uses, turn to K&K Steel. We specialise in custom-cutting stainless steel, steel and aluminium along with providing expert fabrication and welding services. In addition, we offer numerous tools that range from welding equipment to hand tools.
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