The History of Stainless Steel

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Stainless steel, called “the miracle metal” and “the crowning achievement of metallurgy” by the prominent metallurgist Carl Zapffe, is a remarkable material with a fascinating history of people, places, and technology.

From the early discoveries to modern-day developments, The History of Stainless Steel tells an intriguing story of inventiveness and metallurgical progress.

It tells of the discoverers in three countries, their lives, and some of the many obstacles that were encountered.

The amazing story of Harry Brearley, as he rose from poverty to become a self-taught metallurgist, is told first as one of the early discoverers of stainless steel.

Another story is of entrepreneur, Edward Budd, who against all odds and during the Great Depression, used stainless steel and revolutionized the way passenger trains were built, creating a beautiful, streamlined train that was much faster and one-third the weight of a regular train of the time.

And in 1970, a young metallurgist discovered, in the laboratory, a process that would cut the cost of stainless steel in half and produce better steel.

It then took twelve years to discover how to develop the process for large-scale production.

This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the crowning achievements of a material that we may take for granted today.

In the early days, when stainless steel cost as much as fifteen times that of ordinary steel, the goal was to produce the finest, the most durable and the most beautiful product that money could buy.

The book describes the discoveries of the five classes of stainless steel and the melting and refining of these alloys, which have found use in innumerable industries, in the home, in architecture and in transportation.

Stories cover everything from the making of consumer goods and iconic structures such as the Chrysler building and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

The History of Stainless Steel should light the imagination of those who are curious about how technology can advance and benefit society.

Architects, engineers, historians and railroad enthusiasts will enjoy this book as well.

Amply illustrated with photographs, the book also includes a “Stainless Steel Timeline” that lists over 450 interesting and important facts and events on stainless steels technology and applications.


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