Harry Brearley was born on February 18, 1871 which means that it would have been his 150th birthday this year. But how did this Sheffield man find a solution that helped hundreds of soldiers fight in the First World War and changed the method steel was produced forever?
In the difficult years before WW1, arms manufacturing increased by quite a bit in the UK, however practical problems were encountered due to erosion of the internal surfaces of gun barrels.
Harry Brearley began to research a variety of new steels which could better resist the erosion caused by high temperatures (rather than corrosion, as is often mentioned in this regard). He started to examine the addition of chromium to steel, this being known to raise the materials melting point, as compared to the standard carbon steels and, in doing so, invented stainless steel which he called rustless steel.
The more memorable name "stainless steel" was suggested by Ernest Stuart of R.F. Mosley's, a local cutlery manufacturer at Portland Works, and eventually prevailed although Mosley's used the "Rusnorstain" trademark for many years. It is often reported that the first true stainless steel was produced by Harry using an electric furnace on 13 August 1913, Being subsequently awarded the Iron and Steel Institute's Bessemer Gold Medal in 1920.
From Harry Breasley to the modern day, Stainless Steel has come a long way. At DSM Stainless Steel we continue to develop, producing cutting edge bespoke products perfect for any situation; from the Laboratory to the Kitchen.