Steel Heroes - Sir Henry Bessemer

  • 1813 - 1898
  • Knighthood, 1879
  • Fellow of the Royal Society 1879
  • President ISI 1871-3
  • Instituted Bessemer Gold Medal 1873
  • Telford Medal 1859 (ICE)
  • Albert Gold Medal 1872 (Soc of Arts)
  • Hon member of ICE 1877
  • Howard Quinquennial Prize 1877 (ICE)
  • Freedom of the City of London 1880
  • Knight Commanderof the Order of Franz-Joseph (Austria)
  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France)


Bessemer’s main contribution to the steelmaking industry was his invention of Bessemer process for steel-making.  Over a period of 10 years his experiments resulted in the discovery that blowing a blast of air through molten pig iron converted it into steel.  His invention increased the production of steel 200 fold, and reduced the price by a factor of 12.  Royalties from his steelmaking patents made over £1 million, a lot of money in those days.

His other innovations include a movable stamp, sugarcane crushing machine, machine to manufacture bronze powder, graphite to be used in pencils, design of steamboats and large telescopes.  Specifications of his 120 inventions fill 9 large volumes. 


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