A Discovery That Was A Happy Accident!

By Rob Ellis | 25th April, 2017

There are many names throughout the history of metallurgy whose fame was earned through years of rigorous scientific experimentation or endless refinement of metalworking processes. Names like Brearley and Bessemer made their contributions to industry after years of hard work, but some discoveries are made through what can only be described as serendipity. One such name is Thomas Boulsover, a Sheffield cutler born in 1705. Having completed his apprenticeship, he was employed as a cutler in the town when a customer brought him a knife in need of repair. The knife was good quality but it had a highly decorative... [read more]

Gold, Gold and More Gold!

By Rob Ellis | 11th April, 2017

The world of modern metallurgy is a beautifully precise endeavour, one more recognisable as laboratories and a focus on chemical profiles rather than the blacksmith’s forge of years ago. Those blacksmiths were highly skilled in taking, shaping and purifying raw materials, they weren’t necessarily considered ‘metallurgists’ – that title was preserved for those with less practical but more valuable materials! One such name, which was famous and well respected in his day was William Humfrey, who was born around 1500. We don’t know much at all about his early life, thanks to the methods of record keeping around the time,... [read more]

Rust Never Sleeps

By Duncan Ellis | 7th April, 2017

Although we love what we do, sometimes it's lovely to get away from a rainy British Summer with a quick run to the sun, where there's nothing to do but laze on a beach with a good book. While reading on such a beach recently, my attention was drawn from the bad guy in the book to a real life bad guy. He was skulking around some fishermen's boats that had already been fishing and were back on beach before anyone else was out of bed. I suddenly realised I actually knew his name; Mr F.E. Oxide. The boats themselves... [read more]

There’s a Name for Processes Like That

By Rob Ellis | 28th March, 2017

While steel and metallurgy is ever moving forward as the underpin of the futuristic society; a world of glass-and-steel skyscrapers and materials created in the laboratory, it's sometimes easy to forget that where we are now is the culmination of literally thousands of years of progress. There are processes, ideas and words that have been around for a long time – so long that we may have forgotten where they came from and end up sounding a little strange. Some of these technical terms survive because they refer to a specific process and there's still a need for the individual... [read more]

Finding a New and Better Way

By Rob Ellis | 14th March, 2017

There are cycles of innovation that occur every few years in steel; everything from the Bessemer process or the refinement of stainless steel, all the way to ‘chemical recipe’ and specialisation, steel continues to advance. It’s a curious truth, however, that sometimes the innovation doesn’t actually have anything to do with the material itself. Samuel Osborn was a genuine pioneer in the steel industry. Born in 1826 to the partner in a steel firm making pocket knives and razors, he curiously served his apprenticeship with a local company of drapers. Once his apprenticeship was served, he spent time as a... [read more]