The Entire History of Steel

The Entire History of Steel

From hunks of iron streaking through the sky, to the construction of skyscrapers and megastructures, this is the history of the world's greatest alloy.




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Iron and steel have played a pivotal role in the history of human civilization. In this article for Popular Mechanics, journalist Jonathan Shifman describes the major milestones marking the history of the metal. getAbstract recommends it to everybody who wants to understand the role of steal in human history and global politics.


The ancient Egyptians were the first to make objects out of iron. The iron-nickel alloy they used stemmed from meteorites, which were rare. Around 1,800 BC, humans developed techniques to separate iron ore deposits out of the Earth’s crust from stones and minerals, marking the beginning of the Iron Age. The Chalybes people in the Black Sea area were the first to build hearths to extricate iron from the ores, make it malleable and forge weapons from it. Around 500 BC, the Chinese developed smelters that allowed them to liquify the metal and create objects by pouring it into molds. A century later, India’s ironsmiths developed a furnace that allowed the molten iron to absorb just enough carbon...

About the Author

Jonathan Shifman is a writer based in New York City. 

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