Steel Heroes - Dr William Hatfield




  • 1882 –1943
  • Mappin Medal 1902
  • Grant from Andrew Carnegie Research Fund 1902
  • D Met.  University of Sheffield 1913
  • Bessemer Gold Medal 1933
  • Vice President ISI 1934
  • First President and Founder of the Sheffield Metallurgical Society
  • Fellow of the Chemical Society
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics
  • Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (1935)
  • Compton Medal of the Institution of Automobile Engineers
  • Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee on Special and Alloy steels during WW2.



First Industrial experience in the works of Sir Henry Bessemer & Co Ltd.

Appointed Director of the Brown-Firth Research Laboratories in 1916 (succeeding Harry Brearley)

Andrew Carnegie grant enabled him to study the influence of the condition of carbon on the properties of cast iron, and to show that malleable iron with an elongation of 15-20% could be produced.  (Previously 3-6%)

Published a book “Cast Iron in the light of Recent Research” in 1912.

He is principally associated with rust-, acid-, and heat-resisting steels that he is principally associated, presenting many papers in scientific societies, including 20 to the ISI.

Was the first to demonstrate the qualities of 18/8 austenitic Cr-Ni stainless steel under the trade name “Staybrite”, and developing 12/12 austenitic Cr-Ni corrosion resisting steel.  Also important is his work in stimulating interest in the organisation of research.

He was active in war-time work, and largely responsible for convincing the authorities that research work should continue.

 As chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee on Alloy Steels of the Ministry of Supply, he undertook revision and rationalisation of specifications for special and alloy steels which resulted in the “EN series.

He lead a small committee responsible for examination of the materials and construction of enemy aircraft.


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