Iron – an element
Steel – an alloy
Metal – anything metallic
The first evidence of steel use is traced to the beginnings of the Iron Age, 4000 years ago. The Iron Age, named such due to its peoples’ usage of iron, saw a number of comprehensive changes in culture, including in art, religion & construction. The material of steel, which was discovered to be more durable & stronger than bronze, began to be used in lieu of the antiquated metal.
However, for the first few thousand years of usage of the material, the quality of the iron would depend upon the ores utilised & the method of production. The benefits & detriments of the metal were understood but a lack of alternative left no choice but to include it in structures.
That was until the 1800s, in which the majority of iron was bring used in the construction of railroads. A less frail alternative to the material was sought by metallurgists. This was discovered in 1856, when inventor Henry Bessemer developed a method to reduce carbon in content, thereby kick starting the steel industry as is recognised today.
The Bessemer Process involved iron being placed into a pear shaped receptacle & heated, whilst oxygen is blown through it. This process cause the metal to release carbon dioxide & produce a purer iron than had previously been achieved.