The Roots of Progress

The Epic of Steel

Douglas A. Fisher

A history of steel from pre-historic times through the mid–twentieth century (when the book was published). Covers smelting, refining, and manufacturing techniques.

I’m still reading this one. So far it is a good history of steel that has contained key bits of info I haven’t gotten from any other sources. However, I can’t call it well-written. As with many books in this genre, there is often too much detail. The narrative is often disjointed as well. But I enjoyed many parts, including the discussion of the Catalan furnace and its evolution into the blast furnace, and the full history of the Bessemer process (including its simultaneous invention by an American, William Kelly).

Recommended for the serious student of industrial history.

Relevant posts: Science and steel

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