MANEY - British iron and steel AD1800-2000 and beyond

Organization: MANEY
Publication Date: 1 January 2001
Page Count: 444


Several books have been published which describe the evolution and growth of the British iron and steel industry. Most of these provide accounts of the developments in manufacturing methods that have taken place. Some also discuss the products. Only limited reference is usually made, however, to the reasons why the changes were made or to the progressive evolution of the underlying scientific understanding that has transformed the modern approach to the design and operation of processes and to product development. There is no comprehensive coverage of the vast changes that have transformed the industry during the second half of the twentieth century. The theme for the present treatment was proposed by Professor Jack Nutting (now deceased) who suggested that practitioners who had witnessed many of these changes should record their experiences for the benefit of posterity.

The first chapter sets the scene by outlining the changes which resulted in the vast increase in output during the nineteenth century. It identifies also the initial stages of the transition from the control of operations and the development of new processes based upon trial and error and accumulated experience towards the adoption of a more analytical method based on experimentation and scientific deduction. The following chapter describes the continuation of this trend through an examination of the sequence of changes that have occurred during the last 100 years, with reference to some of the problems encountered and the solutions which were derived. It summarises the stage of development reached by the end of the second Millennium.

Founded in 1869, as described in Chapter 3, the Iron and Steel Institute became the principal vehicle for the communication of information about manufacturing and conceptual developments between people working in the industry. It initiated also collaboration between companies by participation in co-operative research activities. This led to the formation of several Research Associations. Most of these served specific sectors of the industry, such as the cast iron, steel castings and spring manufacturers. The most comprehensive coverage was provided by the British Iron and Steel Research Association and the account of its activities in Chapter 4 draws attention to the important contribution made by these bodies.

As the mature industry moves into the twenty-first century, the fifth chapter speculates on the most probable lines for future development. Each chapter is selfcontained. Although this has resulted in some repetition, the chapters can thus be read independently and in any order.

The Appendix presents brief histories of some of the leading companies that made major contributions to the development and growth of the industry during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but whose names are now consigned to history. The profiles are reproduced from an on-going series of reports which are being published in the journal Ironmaking and Steelmaking.

I place on record my appreciation of the efforts of the co-authors who have contributed chapters to the book and without whose support the preparation of this publication would not have been completed. Thanks are recorded also to the many people who have written and/or have contributed to the accounts of the histories of the individual companies described in the Appendix.

Since this back was written, British Steel Corporation and Hoogovens in Holland have merged and have since formed the Corus Group

Edited by: C. Bodsworth