Author Archives: Rob Ellis


A Look At The Vickers Family

By Rob Ellis | 16th January, 2018

There are a number of famous names in the steel industry around Yorkshire, but what’s interesting is the number of different disciplines that they cover. There are famous scientists, metallurgists, cutlers, structural engineers and even physicists! Another historically large sector for steel names was in armaments – and one of the famous families were the Vickers, specifically the two brothers Thomas and Albert. Born in Sheffield in the 1830’s, their grandfather was George Naylor, who owned a steelmaking firm, and their uncle William owned a steel rolling mill – so their future careers were more than likely decided at birth!... [read more]

Could Stainless Steel Be Part of a ‘Life Hack’?

By Rob Ellis | 19th December, 2017

Nobody is entirely sure where they came from, when they started or why they still seem to be everywhere, but the chances are that if you have a social media account, then somebody has posted a ‘Life Hack’ for you. Life hacks are the modern, turbo-charged equivalent of the “Handy Hints” – the kind of help pages that used to appear in just about every type of magazine giving you little tricks of the trade in everything from photography to cake decorating to home brew beer. It’s rare that one of these digital Top Tips catches our attention, but there’s... [read more]

From Iron to Steel – What’s the Deal?

By Rob Ellis | 21st November, 2017

Steel’s been with us so long, it’s impossible to imagine a time without it! So much of our infrastructure is built on steel, from air and rail travel right through to modern buildings – but what people may not know is the fascinating journey that takes place to produce steel from iron. Humans have used iron for over 5,000 years, but at this early stage is was meteoric iron from space; it took a further 2,000 years for us to discover how to refine iron ore. Iron ores are essentially iron oxide, with two iron molecules and three oxygen ones.... [read more]

Thomas Jessop – a Man with Steel in His Veins

By Rob Ellis | 24th October, 2017

There are lots of familiar stories when it comes to steelmaking in Yorkshire, but considering the size, wealth, local materials and the world reach of the Sheffield steelmaking industry at one time, it’s entirely unsurprising that many born locally would find themselves working and having a lifelong career in metallurgy in the 19th Century. One such tale is that of Thomas Jessop, who was born into a steel industry family in 1804; his father had a modest crucible facility nearby. After he completed his education, at around age 14 or 15 he was apprenticed to an edge-tool maker with a view... [read more]

Is Steel Really the Best Material for Your Cookware?

By Rob Ellis | 26th September, 2017

We’ve blogged at length about how amazing steel is as a material – in fact, if there’s a job to be done, it’s very likely that there’s a steel that’s perfect for it! Sometimes it’s because the make-up of the steel and its characteristics are perfectly suited to the job, whereas for some other cases, the cost of the steel is cheap enough to make it much more financially viable to use steel than other materials. Surgical implements made from stainless steel have greatly improved hygiene in hospitals and operating theatres, whereas cutlery from stainless steel is far cheaper than... [read more]