Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009


This project was a study of the history of the steel industry in Nineteenth century America. I thought the time period was interesting, as it represents the time when America evolved into a recognizable industrial society – quick transportation via railroads, rapid intercontinental communications, the development of standardized parts as well as factories, and the development of the modern corporation. I am also fascinated by the metallurgy and chemistry of steel, for reasons as yet unclear to me. My deliverable involved the writing of four papers, each one of which investigated a particular aspect of the steel industry. My 1st paper looked at the antebellum period, before the development of Bessemer or open hearth steel, when the iron trade was a craft-based industry. My 2nd paper looked at the life of Andrew Carnegie as a lens through which to view the business of making steel during the ear of cheap steel. The 3rd paper looked at the chemistry involved in the different techniques for converting iron ore to salable steel product, and the 4th paper looked at the mechanical developments that allowed American steel producers to be the most efficient in the world.