Manganese in steel-making

Patents relating to the Use of Manganese in Steel-making
Heaths Patent, and use of Manganese
Martien and Mushet's Inventions
Manganese and Pitch
Spiegeleisen in Steel-making
Fluid-compressed Steel
The disadvantages of Spiegeleisen
The Manufacture of Ferro-Manganese
Swedish Bessemer Steel
The Bessemer Process in Austria
The Neuberg works in Austria
Honours and Recognitions
The effect of Manganese on Steel
Visit to Cornwall
The Production of Bessemer Pig-iron
Early experiments at Ebbw Vale
Interview with Miss Mushet
The death of Mr. Mushet

In giving a brief account of the more salient points of my life's history, I have deemed it desirable in some cases not to keep strictly to the chronological order of events, which would so entangle different subjects with each other as to render each incident difficult to be understood. I have therefore preferred sometimes to follow up the details of a series of connected events, and thus trace each subject to its natural conclusion, afterwards retracing my steps to recall other incidents which have thus been unavoidably displaced and left to some extent in the background. In accordance with this plan, I now go back to August, 1856, the month in which I read my -- to me -- memorable, paper at the British Association. I have mentioned on another page1 that one of the immediate results of that paper was the application for a large number of patents by various people, either bonâ-fide though unpractical inventors, or others who deliberately planned to take advantage of the premature publication of my invention, by obtaining patents which should hedge me round and force me to divide with them the fruits of my labours. I think I have already made it clear that none of these efforts, bonâ-fide or otherwise, ultimately interfered with the triumphant development of my own patents. I am treading on very delicate ground, and although the events I have to refer to occurred many years ago, and are entirely done with so far as I am concerned, I feel that even now I may not be able to write without prejudice, much as I should desire to do so. I shall therefore confine myself entirely to a narrative of facts, and keep my own individuality and personal feelings as far as possible in the background.

As all I have to say in this Chapter bears intimately upon the employment of manganese in the manufacture of cast steel, it will be in the natural order of things if I commence with a short review of the use of manganese in this industry.

In all the old published accounts of steel making, we find that steel works were located in places where manganesian iron was found. The ancient steel manufacturers of Styria produced the famous German "Natural Steel," which was so much used in this country before Sheffield had achieved its present high reputation. The manganesian iron ore, known here as spathose, or white carbonate, was in Germany known as stahlstein, a term indicative of its well-known special aptitude for the production of steel from the pig-iron known in Styria as spiegeleisen, then and now so much used in steel making. Towards the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth, efforts were made in this country to combine the metal manganese with our British iron, and thus obtain pig-iron so alloyed with manganese as to give it those qualities which enabled the Germans to produce with their manganesian iron ores the finest steel in the market in those early days.

The first in the long list of inventors and patentees is one William Reynolds, who, in December, 1799, obtained a patent in this country "for a new method of preparing iron for the conversion thereof into steel," by employing oxide of manganese, or manganese (that is, metallic manganese), which was to be mixed either with the material for making the pig or cast-iron, or with the cast iron, to be converted into malleable iron in the finery, bloomery, puddling furnace or otherwise.

In either case, ordinary British pig-iron would be converted into manganesian pig-iron, or spiegeleisen, by the employment of Reynolds's patent process of preparing cast-iron "for its conversion into steel;" a process that has, at the time I am writing, now been public property for a period more than eighty years. Thus I had acquired, in common with all other persons in this country, the right to put oxide of manganese into the blast furnace with the iron-making materials, and so produce manganiferous pig-iron of any desired quality for conversion into malleable iron or steel. By the falling into public use of this long-expired patent I had, in common with all other persons, also acquired the right to add manganese (that is, the metal manganese) to cast-iron in order to render it more suitable for conversion into steel. I had the

  By PanEris using Melati.

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