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Report - Firth Vickers 'Staybrite' Works – Sheffield 07/2010

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Oldskool, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Oldskool

    Oldskool Guest
    Guest

    Visited with host....just wish we had got here years ago ,still a good mooch the engine house being the best part...


    John Brown founded his company in the 1840s to manufacture steel files. Over the years the emphasis moved to the manufacture of rails, made from steel provided by the new Bessemer process, and later to rail coach springs. Shipcladding and shipbuilding interests came into the company portfolio and finally, in the 1950s to general construction.
    Following an eight year role in successfully selling files and cutlery around the world in 1844, John Brown started in his own right a steel making company in Orchard Street, Sheffield, on the site of the present Orchard Square shopping development. There was no room for expansion on the site and his second works was opened in Furnival Street, a short distance away. Business expanded rapidly and more new premises were needed, this time in Holly Street, just over the road from his original works. Having works scattered throughout the city centre area made for production problems and because of this, on 1 January 1856, he opened a totally new works on a single site on the edge of the city, in Savile Street which he named Atlas Works.
    In 1846, whilst still at Orchard Square, he invented the conical railway buffer and became a market leader in the United Kingdom. Once settled on the new Atlas Works site he decided to make use of the steel puddling process. Whilst the steel produced by this method is not of the high quality which was being made by the crucible process it was ideal for making railway springs and buffers and, importantly, cheaper to produce.

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    As with many inventions there is an element of luck in the finding of a new type of steel and it is just so with stainless steel. With the coming together of Frith and Brown to build a joint research facility (Brown Firth Laboratories) in 1908 a project was instigated to study one of the problems affecting armaments production. In charge of this was Harry Brearley. The problem concerned the erosion of the internal surfaces of gun barrels and Brearley was charged with finding a suitable material which would offer better resistance to the erosion caused by high temperatures and he began to examine the addition of chromium to a standard carbon steel.
    The well told story is that Brearley noticed in his sample bin one of his pieces which had not shown signs of rusting after being exposed to air and water. This was further examined and analysed, a new steel, which he called "rustless steel", was born, the first commercial cast coming from the furnaces in 1913. Its name was changed the more euphonic "stainless steel" following a suggestion from Ernest Stuart of R.F. Moseley's, a local cutlery maker, and this eventually prevailed.


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    As with many inventions there is an element of luck in the finding of a new type of steel and it is just so with stainless steel. With the coming together of Frith and Brown to build a joint research facility (Brown Firth Laboratories) in 1908 a project was instigated to study one of the problems affecting armaments production. In charge of this was Harry Brearley. The problem concerned the erosion of the internal surfaces of gun barrels and Brearley was charged with finding a suitable material which would offer better resistance to the erosion caused by high temperatures and he began to examine the addition of chromium to a standard carbon steel.
    The well told story is that Brearley noticed in his sample bin one of his pieces which had not shown signs of rusting after being exposed to air and water. This was further examined and analysed, a new steel, which he called "rustless steel", was born, the first commercial cast coming from the furnaces in 1913. Its name was changed the more euphonic "stainless steel" following a suggestion from Ernest Stuart of R.F. Moseley's, a local cutlery maker, and this eventually prevailed.

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    Brearley also appreciated the potential of these new steels for applications not only in high temperature service, as originally envisaged, but also in the mass production of food-related applications such as cutlery, saucepans and processing equipment etc.
    Virtually all research into the further development of stainless steels were interrupted by the First World War, but started again in the 1920s. Although Harry Brearley resigned from the Brown Firth Laboratories in 1915, following a disagreement over patent rights, the research continued under the direction of his successor, Dr. W. H. Hatfield. It is he who is credited with the development, in 1924, of a stainless steel which is still the widest-used alloy of this type, the so-called "18/8", which in addition to chromium, includes nickel in its composition.


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    Thanks for looking oldskool.....
     

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