100+ Years of Stainless Steel

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100 years of stainless steel

A great place to start is a history of stainless steel. This is an invention that started with us in Blighty.

Stainless steel was invented in 1913 by local inventor, Harry Brearley. Steelworker, researcher (now we know as a metallurgist) Harry Brearley based in Sheffield was tasked by a WW1 small-arms manufacturer to find a material that could prolong the life of their gun barrels. He found “by chance” what he called “rustless steel” or corrosion-resistant steel. The story goes that he threw out some experimental steel and a few weeks later found it in the yard still shiny as new.

His legacy carried through to some of the marque businesses in the industry, most well-known is British Steel Corporation. His invention brought affordable cutlery to the masses and saw an expansion of the city’s traditional cutlery trade. Stainless steel is now used in everything from surgical instruments and turbine blades to cutlery and architectural cladding.

To give some context, the global production of stainless steel is valued at more than $120bn. European production in 2018 was almost 8 million metric tons, valued at almost $20bn.