Elwood Haynes, Stainless Steel and the Early Motor Car

Elwood Haynes, Stainless Steel and the Early Motor Car

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We’ve all heard about Harry Brearley, the English metallurgist who invented "rustless steel" (we’ve even talked about him on this website), but what of Elwood Haynes?

Elwood Haynes discovered martensitic stainless steel along with Englishman Harry Brearley in 1912. He was also responsible for designing one of Americas earliest cars, forming the first company in the USA to make cars at a profit.

It was while working on his car designs that Elwood developed his new corrosion resistant metal for car parts. He found that by mixing tungsten with chromium, steel and iron he could create a strong and lightweight alloy that was not only corrosion resistant, but could also stand high temperatures.

He applied for a patent for Stainless Steel in 1912, however the patent office rejected his application on the grounds that ‘it was not a new alloy’. On his second application he supplied a sample showing the ‘stainlessness’ of his alloy and he was finally granted his patent. But his new invention was not just for car parts! By request of his wife, Elwood created the first set of stainless steel silverware for her personal use.

Eventually Elwood sold his patent for stainless steel to the American Stainless Steel Company, and had by then become a millionaire.


We think Elwood Haynes would be amazed at just how mant things his invention had been used for. From Stainless Steel Cyber Trucks to Stainless Steel Worktops and from James Bond's Stainless Steel watch to Stainless Steel Laboratory sinks... amazing!