27 Facts About Henry Bessemer


Sir Henry Bessemer was an English inventor, whose steel-making process would become the most important technique for making steel in the nineteenth century for almost one hundred years from 1856 to 1950.


One of the most significant inventors of the Second Industrial Revolution, Henry Bessemer made over 100 other inventions in the fields of iron, steel and glass.


Henry Bessemer was knighted for his contribution to science in 1879, and in the same year was made a fellow of the Royal Society.


Henry Bessemer's father, Anthony, was born in London into a Huguenot family, but moved to Paris when he was about 21 years old.


Henry Bessemer was an inventor who, while engaged by the Paris Mint, made a machine for making medallions that could produce steel dies from a larger model.


Henry Bessemer became a member of the French Academy of Science, for his improvements to the optical microscope when he was 26.


Henry Bessemer was forced to leave Paris by the French Revolution, and returned to Britain.


The invention from which Henry Bessemer made his first fortune was a series of six steam-powered machines for making bronze powder, used in the manufacture of gold paint.


Henry Bessemer then copied and improved the product and made it capable of being made on a simple production line.


Henry Bessemer patented a method for making a continuous ribbon of plate glass in 1848, but it was not commercially successful.


Henry Bessemer gained experience in designing furnaces, which was to be of great use for his new steel-making process.


Henry Bessemer worked on the problem of manufacturing cheap steel for ordnance production from 1850 to 1855 when he patented his method.


The Henry Bessemer process involved using oxygen in air blown through molten pig iron to burn off the impurities and thus create steel.


Henry Bessemer acknowledged the efforts of Nasmyth by offering him a one-third share of the value of his patent.


Henry Bessemer's attention was drawn to the problem of steel manufacture in the course of an attempt to improve the construction of guns.


Henry Bessemer licensed the patent for his process to five ironmasters, but from the outset, the companies had great difficulty producing good-quality steel.


Henry Bessemer's results prompted Bessemer to try a purer iron obtained from Cumberland hematite, but even with this he had only limited success because the quantity of carbon was difficult to control.


When Henry Bessemer tried to induce makers to take up his improved system, he met with general rebuffs and was eventually driven to undertake the exploitation of the process himself.


Henry Bessemer had works in Greenwich, London, adjacent to the River Thames, from about 1865.


Henry Bessemer had developed his process from an idea to a practical reality in his own lifetime and he was sufficiently of a businessman to have profited by it.


Henry Bessemer was a prolific inventor and held at least 129 patents, spanning from 1838 to 1883.


Henry Bessemer is buried in West Norwood cemetery, London SE27.


Henry Bessemer was knighted by Queen Victoria for his contribution to science on 26 June 1879, and in the same year was made a fellow of the Royal Society.


In 2009, the public house "The Fountain" in Sheffield city centre was renamed "The Bessemer" in homage to Henry Bessemer, who had a huge impact on the Steel City's development.


In 2002 the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining was established from mergers encompassing historical organisations including the Iron and Steel Institute, of which Henry Bessemer was president from 1871 to 1873; the latter organisation instituted the Henry Bessemer Gold Medal under his tenure.


In 2003 Henry Bessemer was named among the top 10 technological innovators in Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 BC to 1950.


That a man who did so much for industrial development did not receive higher recognition from his own government was a source of deep regret for English engineers, who alluded to the fact that in the United States, where the Henry Bessemer process found much use, eight cities or towns bore his name.