Steel Heroes - William Menelaus

  • 1818 – 1882
  • Founder and first President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers 1857
  • Member of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers 1872
  • President ISI 1875-7
  • Bessemer Medal 1881
  • Member if the Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers


Born in East Lothian, and initially apprenticed to an engineering company in Haddington. 
In 1839 he was at Middlesbrough, working on erecting and maintaining brickmaking machinery for Messrs Pease & Co. 
In 1844 he went to South Wales to remodel a corn mill, and was persuaded to stay and manage Fothergill’s ironworks at Llwydcoed and Abernant. 
In 1850 he was asked to join Dowlais Iron company as engineer-manager of the mills and forges. 
The first commercial attempt to produce steel using the Bessemer process was made at Dowlais. 
After development of the process by Mushet, it was taken up on an large scale at Dowlais, and they were quick adopters of the Siemens furnace. 

The Dowlais IronWorks

In 1873 formed the Orcenario Iron Ore Company jointly owned by Dowlais, Consett and Krupps. 
He invented several mechanical handling devices and designed the massive new two-directional Goat Mill for iron rolling. 
Founded the original South Wales Institute of Engineers in 1857, who have a medal named after him.


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