CHAPTER XXI. THE BESSEMER PROCESS.
In 1864 the Bessemer process was introduced into the United States. Its introduction and perfection wiU ever remain one of the most interesting epochs in the history of the iron business, being, practicaUy speaking, revolutionary in its character. The late Hon. Abram S. Hewitt refers to the Bessemer process as one that takes rank with the great events which have changed the face of society since the time of the Middle Ages.
During the early excitement over the Bessemer steel rail made by Mushet from metal melted in common melting pots, a steel rail was laid on the Midland Railway in 1857, at a place where iron rails lasted only about three months. The wearing quaUties of the rafl, which was double-headed, and which had been roUed at Ebbw Vale Iron Company, were so marvelous that I thought it might be well to see if iron ores could be found in this country pure enough to make good Bessemer steel. Having had much experience in the manufacture of good merchant bar iron, I had learned that there were but few brands of pig iron that could be used in the dry process of puddling, which was in use at that time, to make a liigh quaUty of good wrought iron. This was before the appUcation of that most valuable science,— chemistry,— to the metallurgy of iron. But I had in some way leamed that phosphorus was not permissible in the manufacture of good wrought iron. This led me to the conclusion that an iron high in phosphorus would be unsuitable for steel-making purposes.