Steel – the word itself has come to mean strength, durability, and much more, whether it is used in the construction of buildings, making automobiles, home appliances, or any one of thousands of products people use every day. Society relies on steel to build the bridges and highways people travel on every day. This metal has remained a constant in the lives of human beings for thousands of years, though new technology and research have produced some improvements in more recent times.
At one time, bronze was the key metal in society. Then iron began to replace bronze, as tools and weapons became more dependable and lasted longer. But even iron proved to have some deficiencies that led people to find something that would be less brittle, and therefore much more useful over a period of time.
Along Came Bessemer
While there have been numerous changes and improvements in metallurgy through the years, the use of oxygen in a special way to control the amount of carbon in iron was perhaps a truly seminal moment. Most of those who know history do not hesitate to credit Henry Bessemer’s process in the 1850s with creating what people know as the modern steel industry.
In the past 150 years, various segments of society have come up with thousands of distinct uses for steel. As this growth continued, steel suppliers became a staple in the world economy. Some of these companies now offer products so varied it would be difficult to keep track of the list without a lot of effort (and a magnificent inventory system).
The ‘menu’ from these suppliers not only lists hundreds of useful and interesting products; it also offers special processing of steel components, including drilling, shearing, custom cutting, and more. But this wide range of products and services did not come about overnight. Leading steel providers and fabrication experts rely on their decades of experience, some going back 50 years and more.
A Closer Look
For many years, homeowners and business owners relied on steel tubes to carry the water used on a daily basis, and to carry the wastewater away from the property. This same type of product was, and is, used to carry petroleum and natural gas in distribution systems. Most people are familiar with the larger items, such as beams, that are used in all types of construction. Flattened steel can be used for car bodies as well as for industrial decking. As mentioned earlier, the list is almost endless.
The key to being able to produce all these different products, in hundreds of shapes and sizes, lies in the experience of people who have imagined a specific item and then created it by shaping one of the most rugged materials on the planet. While other materials have taken over some of the tasks once assigned solely to steel, this amazing metal still holds a very special place in the world economy. That probably will not change anytime soon.