Mushet / Bessemer
























Reproduced by Keith Lloyd Webb  BEM.  JP


An Inclosure Commissioner for the Forest of Dean


11th January 2001











I am the youngest son of David Mushet, formerly of the Clyde, Alfreton, and Whitecliff Ironworks, discoverer of the Blackband Ironstone, which has enriched Scotland, and inventor of the process called Fettling Puddling Furnaces, by means of which one firm alone of ironmakers gained, on their own showing, over £500,000 in the course of fourteen years.


Mr. D. Mushet likewise invented the method of producing Steel by melting Bar iron with charcoal. He was likewise the first, too, who published correct ideas on the subject of the Iron and Steel manufacture. His services to Scotland and the world at large, were never recognised save by the Sheffield poet, Elliott, who declared, that to Mr. Mushet, and to his friend, the late Josiah Marshall Heath, Sheffield owed half its prosperity; whilst a very eminent Scotsman said, that my father deserved a crown of gold for his labours.



31st March, 1883.




   TO HER,















31st March, 1883.



To my Readers.


In publishing this little volume, my object is, to set the merits of Sir Henry Bessemer's process, and my own process, in a clear light, so that the world, in assigning to Sir Henry Bessemer's process, all the praise it so richly deserves, may at the same time, not wholly overlook, as up to the present time, has usually happened, the part my process has played, in the manufacture of cheap steel.


I desire that there may no longer be any doubt, regarding the relation, the nature, and the value, of the two processes, which constitute the Bessemer - Mushet combined, or binary process, of manufacturing cheap steel.


I by no means arrogate to myself, the idea that, if I had never invented my Spiegel-Eisen process, no one else would ever have found it out. On the other hand, I have frankly and publicly said, that Mr. Bessemer would in all probability, sooner or later, have made the discovery. I however was fortunate enough to anticipate him, and all the world besides, in perfecting his marvellous invention.


Mr. Bessemer was not made a knight for his steel invention, though he certainly ought to have been ; but he received that honour for his most ingenious invention of a stamp, which by preventing frauds, has saved the British Government over six millions sterling, and for which service to his country, he never received anything, but the tardy honour, recently conferred upon him, of knighthood.


I hope that you will accept my little volume, and look upon its style leniently, as it is a plain and simple record, of the rise and progress of the Bessemer - Mushet process.

And so I bid you heartily farewell.



31st March, 1883.







During the Summer of 1848, Mr Henry Burgess, Editor of the Bankers’ Circular, brought me a lump of white crystallised metal, which he said was found in Rhenish Prussia, where he was told a mountain of it existed.


Mr. Burgess had merely confounded iron, with iron ore,-an error often committed even at the present day. Being familiar with alloys of iron and manganese, I at once recognised this lump of metal, as an alloy of these two metals, and as such of great value in the manufacture of steel.


I advised Mr. Burgess to make enquiry respecting this alloy, and he introduced me to the late Mr. T. C. Banfield, a Queen's Envoy, and a very clever man, who never neglected to seek, obtain and treasure up useful information. He told me, he had passed a good deal of his time, in Rhenish Prussia, and that the white metallic alloy, was the product of steel ore, called also spathose iron ore, being in fact, a double carbonate of iron and manganese, found in the Rhenish mountains, and that it was most carefully selected, and smelted in small blast furnaces, charcoal fuel alone being employed, and the only flux used, being lime.


The metal was run from the furnace, into shallow iron troughs, similar to the old refiners' boxes, and the cakes thus formed, when cold and broken up, showed large and beautifully bright facets and crystals, specked with Innate spots of uncombined carbon. It was called from its brightness, "Spiegel Glanz," or" Spiegel Eisen," i.e. looking glass iron.


Practically, its analysis was

Iron 86.25

Manganese 8.50

Carbon 5.25



From this Spiegel-Eisen were prepared the steels for which Rhenish Prussia had long been so celebrated, and after which, the first Napoleon had hankered, when he coveted the German Rhenish Provinces,


I saw then, that this metal, was of the utmost value in steel making, and that it was essential, to the manufacture of cheap steel of superior quality.


It is not necessary for me to describe, the various processes, by which the Spiegel was worked into steel, by the Rheno-Prussian steel makers, as that is not a branch. of the subject, I now treat of.


Through Mr. Burgess, I ordered twelve tons of the best Spiegel Eisen from Siegen. It cost me about £14 per ton delivered in London, where the Custom house officials described it, as "Crude Spelter." Having a small steel work, and my own time at my command, I proceeded to make, a series of trials, and conibinations of this metal, with iron and steel, and found, that I could greatly cheapen the cost of production, and at the same time, improve the quality, of the steel produced. I however confine myself here, to the issue of one certain class of experiments, which I made.


I had seen, that wrought iron, long exposed to heat, flame and drafts of air, became comparatively valueless, and could only be sold, at about. one-fourth of its former value. It was termed "burnt iron." By alloying this burnt iron" with Spiegel, I found that I could restore its original quality, and even improve upon it. I then endeavoured to find out the reason, of this kind of renovation; and after long and mature reflection, I came to the following conclusion, viz: that "burnt iron contained in itself shut up in it, or occluded - simple oxygen, which in some way, debased and deteriorated the quality of the iron, and which oxygen, had to be eliminated, in order to restore the iron, to its previous excellence.


The fracture of fire bars of " burnt iron," was crystalline in place of fibrous, and I concluded, that when wrought iron had a crystalline fracture, it contained simple or pure oxygen, shut up in it, occluded in fact. In what manner, or in what form, it was thus shut up, I cannot say, nor can anyone else; but there are many facts, which cannot be ex­plained, and must therefore be accepted, as they exist, at least for the present.


I now set about to remove the oxygen, and improve the "burnt iron," by means of the great affinity of carbon for oxygen ; but I was unsuccessful. Carbon was powerless to eliminate the obnoxious oxygen. Then arose the question, Why did Spiegel, a compound of iron, manganese and carbon, accomplish what carbon alone had failed to effect ?


Knowing the powerful affinity of mangan­ese for oxygen, or vice versa, I arrived at the conclusion, that the introduction of as much metallic manganese, as was necessary to com­bine with the occluded oxygen, in the "burnt iron," would bring about, the required elimin­ation, of that oxygen, in the slag, as an oxide of manganese.


I have never had any reason to alter my opinion, as regards this occluded oxygen, and as to its elimination or removal, by the addi­tion of Spiegel, that was then, has been ever since, and is still, an incontrovertible fact.


Some years passed away, and I certainly had fairly mastered the subject, of the effects of Spiegel. when alloyed in various ways with iron and steel; and then came the reading of Mr. Bessemer's celebrated paper, on the manufacture of steel and iron, by his pneumatic process. That paper was read here in Cheltenham, before the British Association, in 1856. I was not at the meeting, nor did I even hear of Mr. Bessemer's paper, until the second day, after it had been read, when Mr. Thomas Brown, at that time, the managing partner of the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, came to me, bringing pieces of Mr. Bessemer's pneumatised iron, which had been de-carbonised at his works, or at some works, at Chel­sea, by his pneumatic process.


The pieces of metal, were blown from Blanavon pig iron, a very good quality of

cast iron, but by no means the best suited, for Mr. Bessemer's process.


When I read Mr. Bessemer's Paper, I saw at once, that the product he obtained, was in effect, "burnt iron," and also, that the blast, would not remove the sulphur from the me­tal, nor probably, the phosphorous. It was then, essential to his final success, that the iron operated upon, should be, practically, free from sulphur and phosphorus, for I had clearly proved, that the presence of these pests, in steel was, even in very small per­centages, fatal to its commercial value. And this fact, had long been well known, to steel makers. It was also essential, to Mr. Besse­mer's successful carrying out, of his great in­vention, that he should be able to remove, the occluded oxygen.


Now, I knew, that metallic manganese would effect this, and I had that metallic manganese, in alloy with iron, as found in Spiegel. I therefore added, to some of the Chelsea-Bessemer metal, from Blanavon pig iron, 3% of the purest Spiegel, and fused these ingredients together. The small ingot obtained, was forged, and was quite free from redshortness, at any usual temperature; but was inferior steel, owing to the presence of sulphur, and probably phosphorus, in the Blanavon pig iron.


I showed the ingot, when forged, to Mr. Brown, and he asked me, how it had been made. I requested him to put up, a small Bes­semer hearth, and to de-carbonise thoroughly, a few charges, of very fine Hematite pig iron, and try to forge the ingots. This was done; but the ingots cracked in the forging, though, at a very high welding heat, they worked fairly well; but the moment the tem­perature fell a little, the bars cracked deeply, all along their edges.


One of these bars, Mr. Brown brought to me, it resembled an old fashioned puddle bar, from the worst redshort iron, only it was far more deeply cracked.


Mr. Brown held it up in one hand, and said, "See, this is all we can do: can you help us?" I replied, "Yes, I can." The metal of this bar, was exceedingly soft and tough, almost as much so, as fine copper. I had part of it cut into small pieces, and of these, I placed 16 ozs. in a small clay crucible, and placed the crucible, with a lid upon it, in a small assay furnace, capable of fusing wrought iron. Into another smaller crucible, I put I oz. of pure Siegen spiegel and placed the crucible, in the flue of the melting furnace. When the contents of the crucibles were melted, I with­drew quickly, both crucibles, from the furnace, and poured the melted Spiegel, into the mel­ted Bessemer metal, and then emptied' the mixture, into a small ingot mould. The ingot was smooth and piped, and had all the appearance., of good cast steel. I heated this ingot, to a fair cast steel heat. Mrs. Mushet held the ingot, in a pair of tongs, and with a sledge hammer, I drew one half of it, into a flat bar. This bar I heated, and twisted in a vice, at a white heat, a red heat, and a low red heat. It remained perfectly sound, and clear in the edges, and not a trace of red shortness remained. I next doubled the bar, welded it, and drew it into a chisel, which I hardened, tempered, and tested severely, on hard cast iron. It stood well, and was in fact, cast steel, worth 42/- per cwt. I saw then, that the Bessemer process was perfected, and that, with fair play, untold wealth, would re­ward, Mr. Bessemer and myself.


I immediately sent to Mr. Brown to have the whole of the Bessemer metal, he had had blown, cut up into pieces, and sent to my works, a small experimental steel work with n melting furnaces, or "holes," as they are called in Sheffield. Also, I had a pair of wooden heave, old fashioned tilt hammers.


These works were, in the Forest of Dean, where I was born, and from which I got my Christian name, of Forester.


After the Bessemer scrap arrived, from the Ebbw Vale Iron Company's Victoria Works, I charged sixteen melting pots, with 441b5. each, of the cut up metal, and when well melted, I bad 31b5. of melted Spiegel, poured into each pot. The contents of the sixteen pots, were then poured into an ingot mould, and the ingot was sent to Ebbw Vale, and was there r9lled, at one heat, into a perfectly sound double-headed steel rail. This was the first steel rail, of perfected Bessemer - Mushet metal, ever produced.


I then charged twenty melting pots, with 46 lbs. each, and when melted, I had 2lbs. of the pure spiegel, poured into each pot. The large ingot cast from these, was also sent to Ebbw Vale, and rolled at two heats, into a Great Western railway bridge rail. This rail would have been 26 feet long; but when it was in the second groove, it overpowered the engine, and had consequently to be cut in two. The longer piece measured i6 feet, and it was perfectly sound, without a flaw. Fur­ther on, I shall have occasion, to allude again, to these two rails, the pioneers of millions of tons, since manufactured, under the joint pro­cesses, of Mr. Henry Bessemer, and myself,

 that is to say, by the Bessemer-Mushet process.


It is true, that Bessemer metal re-melted, 'with spiegel added, might answer; whilst Bessemer metal, run direct from the conver­ter, might not answer, when an addition of spiegel, was made to it. I had myself, not a doubt, that it would answer, as well or bet­ter; but some authorities, including an eminent London chemist, held a different opinion, and he was kind enough, to write of me, as "a visionary dreamer."


Eminent men, chemists and others, wrote and spoke in a similar manner, of Mr. Bessemer's process, and some of them, even resorted to doggerel versification, in ridicule of the most marvellous invention of the age. These prophets, did not understand Mr. Bessemer's process; but I did, and when his invention, was contemptuously spoken of, and written about, I defended it, in the Mining Journal under the signature of "Ciders."'


I have not these letters now; but they were published in 1856, and are to be found in the Mining Journal of that year.


I may add, here, that for many years, Bessemer ingots, had to be hammered, before rolling; but these I am writing of, were rolled at once, from the ingot.


I made a number of smaller ingots, and forged them into blooms. These I sent to Mr. Thomas Allaway, of the Lydney Tin-plate Works, and to Mr. Hallam, of the For­est Tinplate Works, Glamorganshire. Both these gentlemen, had them rolled, into plates, and tinned, pronouncing the plates superior, in every respect, to their own best charcoal plates. Mr. Allaway himself, brought me a quantity of these plates, and said, he was un­able to produce plates, of such pre-eminent excellence, from his own materials.


The late Mr. S. H. Blackwell, of Dudley, visited me at this time, and tested some of the metal, from which these plates were made. He also himself, tested a small bar 5/8 by 3/8in., by bending it cold, backwards and forwards, at right angles, in a vice. It only broke, at the 147th bend.


I have noticed in some recent journal that Dr. Siemens is looked up to, as being I have not these letters now; but they were published in 1856, and are to be found in the Mining Journal of that year.


I may add, here, that for many years, Bessemer ingots, had to be hammered, before rolling; but these I am writing of, were rolled at once, from the ingot. about to invent steel plates, soft and tough enough, to answer for body armour.


Twenty-six years ago I accomplished this object, by blowing Hematite pig iron, till all the carbon was gone, and then adding to it, I 1/2, per cent. of the pure old fashioned spiegeleisen of Rhenish Prussia. This possessed all the quality, suited for armour plating for the body.


But I return to my subject. I drew up a Patent Specification, in which I claimed the addition, of a triple metallic compound of iron, manganese, and carbon, to cast iron, which had been de-carbonised, by Mr. Bes­semer's process, of forcing atmospheric air, through melted cast iron; or by any other process, under which cast iron, when melted, was de-carbonised, by forcing atmospheric air through it. My object was', first to, wholly de-carbonise the. melted cast, iron, by Mr. Bessemer's process, then' to introduce, as much metallic manganese, as should free the Bessemer metal, from its occluded oxygen, restoring at the same time, as much carbon, as was necessary to constitute the mixture, hard. or soft steel, or steel iron, as might be desired.


In spiegeleisen, I found the kind of ma­terial, which would suit my process, as it furnished in itself, the necessary amount, of manganese and carbon.


This was the essence of my Patent pro­cess, and thus, I intended to file it. Mr. Thomas Brown, however, thought it best to have Patent Counsel's opinion first, and he brought Mr. Hindmarch, the great Patent Counsel of that time, to consult with me, about my specification. The result was, that much against my wishes, Mr. Bessemer's name, was replaced, by that of Mr. S. G. Martien, by whom, an absurd and impracticable Patent Process, had been filed previously to the date of Mr, Bessemer's great patent. Mr. Martien's claim was, to partially de-car­bonise melted cast iron, by running it from the blast furnace, along a cast iron gutter, the bottom of which, was perforated with numer­ous small holes, through which, air was forced. The metal thus treated, was run into whatever that might mean. But not a syllable was said, as to converting the cast iron into steel, or malleable iron. This process was indeed, a pneumatic process, but one possessing neither value nor utility, unless it was desired, to make an exhibition of fireworks, at the cost of the iron.


My patent was at last filed 22nd September, I 856, and a very poor lame affair it was, although the Counsel's fee and time, cost £300, and to me, were not worth as many pence. My patent was taken out, for England, France, and America. Mr. Brown arranged for his partners, the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, that I should have a moiety of the proceeds from Royalties, whilst his firm, were to have the other moiety, for being at the cost of the Patents, and guarding them from being trifled with, or pirated. The deed of arrangement, was promised, but it never was executed, or even as far as I know, ever drawn up. Having to file the complete or final specification, within six months from 22nd September, 1856, I of course required, a small furnace, or hearth, and a blowing apparatus, to enable me to test my process direct from the converter, and without re-melting the Bessemer scrap. I requested Mr. Brown to have this done, without delay, in order that I might file my final specification, in good time. After long delay, Mr. Brown's firm began to show the cold shoulder, and I was told, there was not time to set up the apparatus, and that it was not at all essential. In short, I found that I could obtain no help from that quarter, and ran the risk of being unable to complete my claim.


In this dilemma, I turned to Mr. S. H. Blackwell, and assigned to him, half my moiety in the patents, on condition that he would procure for me, the blowing apparatus, etc., and act as trustee, for my quarter-share, in the patent.


Mr. Blackwell at once set about this matter, and in five weeks, he had managed to set up, a cupola for melting the pig iron, a Bessemer hearth, about 15in. square, and 5ft. in depth, and a blowing apparatus, driven 'by means of a band, from a large pulley, fixed on the end of the fly-wheel shaft, which worked 'the tilt hammers. This blower delivered a blast of from 8lbs. to 10 lbs. pressure per. square inch, through three tuyere pipes made of 4in, gas piping. Messrs. Fox, Henderson, & Co. of the London Works, Birmingham, were the engineers, and it was the last piece of work, which that firm, ever executed. This was in 1856-7.


The method I adopted, was as follows: each tuyere was a piece of 12in. gas piping, and was passed through a hole in a fire brick, placed in the side of the furnace. There were two side tuyeres, and one back tuyere. The hearth held from 500 to 800 lbs. of melted pig iron. The hearth was first well heated, with coke, and the blast being on, the charge of iron was run in, from the cupola. The blowing was continued, until the iron began to burn fast, and the blast was then taken off. As a matter of course, the tuyere pipes filled with the metal, which at once chilled in them, and set


The spiegel eisen, was then introduced, into the hearth, through the top openings,

either in a melted state, or in heated lumps, and the hearth was then tapped, and the metal run into, large heated black-lead crucibles, held in double-handled tongs. These pots or crucibles, were then emptied into ingot moulds.


Sometimes the spiegel, was put into these pot ladles, and the Bessemer metal was poured upon it, causing a strong, and almost dangerous, chemical action.


The ingots produced, forged without any flame,, or sign of redshortness; but the waste, owing to the small quantity of iron operated upon, was great, as the metal chilled, and set so quickly. The quality of the steel, thus made, was very fair, and was worth at that time, for borer steel, 46/ per cwt.


The Easter Iron Mine, which was close to my works, used borers made from this steel, and it answered its purpose, thoroughly for boring rock and iron ore.


The direct method, of producing Bessemer - Mushet steel, was now fully successful, and was an accomplished fact, and I was enabled to file my complete Specification, in March, 1857.


My patent was thus arranged:

The Ebbw Vale Iron Company,

One moiety interest.

Mr. Blackwell,

One quarter interest.

And myself,

One quarter interest.


Subsequently to the reading of his paper, before the British Association, in Cheltenham, in' 1856, Mr. Bessemer paid me a visit, at Coleford, where I then resided: he was very friendly, and I found him to be most intelligent, observant, and resolute to succeed in perfecting his process. I do not know, if he thought, I had really made a valuable discovery, affecting his process, but he certainly desired to know, what my process was, and wished me to confide' it to him. This, I am sorry to say, I could not do, being then in honour bound, to the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, though no agreement had been at that date, drawn up, or executed. We had a long talk, and he then took leave of me. His parting words were, " Well, I shall spend £ 20,000 this year, in experiments, which ought to guide me to success."


Pending the filing of my complete specification, the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, had consulted an eminent London Chemist, and he had pronounced, that on the large scale, it was quite impossible, that the spiegeleisen, could mix properly with the Bessemer metal, and, that my claim was therefore, worthless.


There arose thereafter, a disposition on the part of that company, to shelve me; and my process. Mr. Blackwell was in overwhelming pecuniary difficulties, and so he and Mr. Thomas Brown, the trustees of my patent, let the matter slumber, until the third year's stamp duty of £50 fell due.  They omitted to pay it, or to give me notice of their omission : so my process became public property, and Mr. Bessemer had a perfect right, to make use of it, and his prosperity, dated from that period. An application for a re-grant of the patent, would in the opinion of Patent Counsel, have been successful; but the application, was never made.


No doubt I might have sued the trustees; but I had neither health, nor means of fighting a battle, with them, in a court of law. Besides which, both Blackwell and Brown, had been personally, kind friends to me, and both were then, in apparently hopeless difficulties.


My foreign patents, were all forfeited, by the trustees, except the American patent. In that I managed to secure an interest, amounting to the sixteenth part, of one thirty-second share, of the royalties; but the patent ran out, before the enormous advance commenced, the manufacture of Bessemer-Mushet steel, in America. A few hundreds of pounds, represented the amount I realised, from my invention, in place of its fair value, of half a million.


I now recur, to the steel rails, rolled by the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, from my Bessemer and Mushet ingots, cast at the Forest Steel' Works, near Coleford.


The double-headed rail, was sent back to me, after it had been rolled, and I found it quite sound and perfect, and so thickly stamped, with the words, "Ebbw Vale Iron Co." that that firm had apparently considered, there was no room for my name, to appear upon it. I was directed to send it, to Derby Station, where it was to be laid down, at a part of the line, where as was stated, the iron rails, had to be renewed, every six months, and occasionally within three months.


Early in 1857, this rail was placed in situ, at Derby Station. In 1863, Mr. Adams, of the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, stated publicly, 1that up to that date, the rail had remained, apparently, as perfect as ever, though about seven hundred trains daily had passed over it.


On the 26th December, 1867, I wrote to Mr. John Crossley, at the Engineer's Office, Midland Railway, Derby, enquiring what number of trains passed over the rail daily, and whether the Midland Railway Company, would sell the rail to me. This was Mr. Crossley's reply


Derby, 31s1 December, 1867. Dear Sir,


In reply to your favour of the 26th inst. I beg to say-

1st, That the number of trains daily pass over the rail, is about two hundred and

fifty ; but that number 'nay at least be doubled, for detached engines and tenders.

2nd, I should not be inclined to recommend, the sale of the rail; but if it is ever taken out, you shall have the refusal of it.

Yours truly,


Robt. Musket, Esq., Cheltenham.


On the 16th of June, 1873, I again wrote to Mr. Crossley, asking him about the rail, and also reminding him, of his promise of 31st December, 1867, This was his reply


Derby, July, 1873. Dear Sir,


I am sorry to find, that the rail referred to, in your letter of the i6th June, was taken

out and used up, about ten days, before the receipt of your letter.

Yours truly,


R. F Musket, Esq., Cheltenham.


This was an act of Vandalism, on the part of the Midland Railway Company, and their employees, which I will leave to my readers, to estimate.


Surely this rail, as the first steel rail ever laid down, deserved a better fate, than to be used up."


During its life of sixteen years, 1,252,000 detached engines and tenders, at very least, had passed over it, in safety.


I now turn to the second rail, or bridge rail, I have before mentioned. For a long I while, I heard nothing of it; but at length it transpired, that it lay in the offices of the Ebbw Vale Iron Company. in London, and was there exhibited by Mr. Robinson, one of the partners, as the product of " The Uchatius Process of Steel Manufacture!"


It appears that the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, were interested in the Uchatius process, and wished to push it forward, in England.


This process was in fact, my own invention, and I had made and sold the steel thus produced, for some years previously, to the date of Captain Uchatius' patent. This the Ebbw Vale Iron Company were aware of. and they brought Captain Uchatius' agents, Messrs. Lenz and Howard, to the Forest Works, to be instructed in the so-called Uchatius process. Messrs. L, and H. had, a few days previously, made an ingot in London, but it was by no means up to the mark, and they feared to take it to Sheffield. In their presence I cast for them, half-a-dozen ingots of 40 lbs. each, forged some of them1 and had them tilted, to the sizes they wished for, and they departed, very well pleased.


This steel was fairly approved of in Sheffield, where they took it; but how a bridge rail, 16ft. long, evolved itself, out of half-a-dozen 40 lb. ingots, I must leave the Darwins of the present age, to demonstrate.


The Bessemer - Mushet process progressed; but my name in connection with it, very rarely appeared. But on the I 7th April, 1879, Mr. George Wilson, Managing Director of the great steel-making firm, of Charles Cammell and Co., writing in the Standard newspaper, observed, "With no desire, to detract from Mr. Bessemer's merits, I hold that his material, should correctly be termed, Bessemer-Mushet steel,. as it. is certainly due, to. a modification, invented by the latter eminent metallurgist, that the Bessemer steel ingots, attained a value, for any practical purpose whatever."


In the same year, Mr. Isaac Louthian Bell, writing to me, remarked : " I have, on more occasions than one, pointed out clearly, the immense service, you have rendered to the world, by your happy discovery, of the use of spiegeleisen, in the manufacture of steel. In a work I am now engaged upon, your name again appears, in connection with Mr. Bessemer's process, and that of the open hearth process, of Dr. Siemens."


In The Times, of 7th June, 1879, there appeared the following letter:


"The Bessemer Process.


To the Editor of The Times.


Sir, In the leading article, in the Times of to-day, you speak of the Bessemer process, as being the result of the brain work, of a single individual. This is not so, for another renowned metallurgist, Mr. R. F. Mushet, has, or rather should have, co-ordinate honour. In fact, it was Mr. Mushet, who successfully completed the Bessemer process. While drawing attention to the honour, so deservedly conferred, upon one illustrious inventor, I am sure, you do not wish, to detract from the honour due to another.


Your most obedient servant,


Gold Tops, Mon.

5th June, 1879."


Mr. Jordan has here done me, more than justice, for I cannot assert myself, as either a renowned metallurgist," or an "illustrious inventor." I merely supplied the rudder, as it were, to the Bessemer ship, and a rudder is indispensable, no matter how otherwise complete the ship may be, and in this instance, it was truly a magnificent barque, all but the rudder.


In March, 1876, Mr. Menelaus, was president of the Iron and Steel Institute, which met in London. Mr. Menelaus said, " It would be needless to enlarge, at any length, on what the iron and steel trades of England, owed to Mr. Mushet. He was the son of a man, who was one of the first, to apply scientific research, to the everyday operations of iron making. His great work was, the discovery of the Blackband ironstone, which has founded one of our leading British industries, and that was, the Scottish Iron Trade. The elder Mr. Mushet, extended his re-searches into the manufacture and properties of steel, and at a time, when very little was known on the subject, and he was enabled to throw, a great deal of light upon it. The son followed, in the footsteps of his father. It would be needless to enquire, into the success, which attended his attempts, to improve other processes, as they were all overshadowed, by his beautiful application, of his spiegeleisen process. to the invention of Mr. Bessemer, and it was on that ground. that the Council, after giving the matter their best consideration, had unanimously resolved, to present the Bessemer Gold Medal this year, (1876) to Mr. Mushet. The President thought, they would agree with him, that the application of this process. was one of the most elegant, as it was one of the most beautiful processes in metallurgy. It was worthy of being associated, with Mr. Bessemer's process. The processes. would go down n~ to posterity together. and he thought no one in the room, would be more pleased than Mr. Bessemer, that they were going to pay this compliment to Mr. Mushet. It was only right that the medal introduced by Mr. Bessemer, should be given to one, who had made his system perfect."


“Mr. Bessemer congratulated the Institute, on the award, which had this year been made, of the medal, which bore his (Mr. Bessemer's) name.  That Mr. Mushet's invention supplemented his own, there was not a shadow of doubt. and he was glad, that the medal had been awarded to Mr Mushet, which he so nobly deserved”.


In the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, there is an article on Iron, by Dr. C. R. Alder Wright, F.R.S., from which the following is an extract, on the subject of the Bessemer process


The method usually known in England, as Bessemer's process of steel making, is a combination process, consisting of two parts: one, the Bessemer process proper, of which the essential feature is, the conversion of cast iron into wrought iron, (by the method due to Bessemer,) of forcing air, through the molten mass, so as to burn out the carbon; the other, (due to Mr. Mushet,) consisting of the conversion of the molten wrought iron thus obtained, into steel, by mixing it, with a suitable proportion, of fused carbonised iron, containing metallic manganese, in the form of spiegeleisen, or ferro-manganese."


Another extract is as follows:


"About the beginning of the present century, Mushet (David) patented the production of a crucible steel, by the direct carbonisation of malleable iron, by the fusion together in crucibles, of bar or scrap iron, and a proper percentage of carbonaceous matter.


In 1839, Heath patented the use, of what he called Carbonate of Manganese, but it was found, that the same result was produced, whether this heating together, of the manganese dioxide and carbonaceous matter, was previously carried out, (as in Heath's process); or whether these materials, were separately added, to the contents of the crucible, and the whole melted together.  This Mushet - Heath process, of fluxing together in crucibles, malleable iron and steel scrap, powdered charcoal, and manganese oxide, or spiegeleisen, is still used to some extent."


A third extract from Dr. Wright's article I now append:


It was speedily found that the production of steel of uniform quality from English pig iron, by the Bessemer process, was impracticable, owing to the difficulty, in stopping the blowing operation, at exactly the right moment, to ensure the desired degree of carbonisation, and that the production of malleable iron, was equally an unsuccessful manufacturing operation, because, if the blow were continued, a little too long, the product was "burnt iron," containing oxide of iron, disseminated through it, which rendered it brittle; whilst if the metal was under-blown, it was hard and steely. Accordingly, the value of the new process, of which the highest expectations, were first formed, was really but small, notwithstanding the various improvements, patented by Mr. Bessemer, in 1855, and 1856.  In the end of the latter year, however, the difficulty was solved, and the whole process rendered practical, and readily controllable, by Mushet, who patented the improvement in use up to the present day, of de-carbonising the iron by blowing it completely, and then adding melted spiegeleisen, in known quantity, so as to re-carbonise the mass, to any definite extent required. Mushet's patent right, however, was allowed to lapse through neglecting to pay the requisite fees, in the third year, and in consequence, his name, is almost forgotten, in connection with his improvement, on Bessemer’s own process.


I do not wholly endorse these remarks of Dr. Wright, for I believe that oxygen, and not oxide of iron, was the bane of the Bessemer process, and this oxygen, could only be eliminated, by introducing a metal, such as manganese, or chromium, having a greater affinity than carbon, for oxygen.


Neither was the Bessemer metal, by any means, cold short, i.e. brittle, except when blown from phosphoric pig iron. When blown from Hematite iron, it was soft, and very cold tough, but red short, and in fact rotten, when made hot.


I am not, however, the less indebted to Dr. Wright, for the measure of justice, he has done me, and the more so, because the world's principle is, that if a man is not wealthy, he need not expect justice, or even credit.


Dr. Wright, in his article, from which I have just quoted, has alluded to the joint

processes, of Sir Henry Bessemer and myself, as the " Bessemer - Mushet process,,' which in fact, is the correct title.  He has also mentioned the Thomas Gilchrist process, as "The Thomas Gilchrist, Snelus, process1" calling that process, as he has alluded to that of Mr. Bessemer, and myself, by its proper designation, for as far as the patents are concerned, Mr. Snelus was first in the field.


My Spiegel process, is quite as essential to the success of the Basic process, as it is to the Bessemer process, except, when in the latter process, the iron blown, is itself a spiegeleisen, i.e., manganesic pig iron.  In this case, as happens in Sweden, at some works, no Spiegel need be added, unless to re-carbonise the Bessemer metal.


In the Basic process, the blown metal is “burnt iron,” and without my process, would not be of any commercial value whatever.


Again, in the open-hearth process of Dr. Siemens, the soft metal is " burnt iron," and my process is absolutely essential  When I asked Mr. Hackney, the then manager of the Landore Steel Works, what the open-hearth process was worth, apart from mine, he snapped his fingers. and exclaimed, " not that."


Should the process of Mr. Bull, prove practically a success, it can only become so, by the aid of my process: that is, by an addition to the melted metal, of a triple metallic compound, of iron, carbon and manganese, whether it is called spiegeleisen, or ferro manganese, or manganesic pig iron, for the product obtained by Mr. Bull will be especially "burnt iron”.


As regards the great lions of metallurgy, the inventors of these processes, I appear to be, in the position of the mouse in Aesop's fable, and it has been my office, to relieve them, by gnawing away the fetters of "burnt iron," in which they were unexpectedly entangled, 1 might, therefore, look upon my work, and its perfect success, with some degree of pardonable pride. The most pride, however, that I feel, lies in the fact. that I was never inside any steel works, but my own, and never even saw the outside of one, except that of the Avonside Steel Works in Bristol.  I have not, therefore, any borrowed ideas, or any unacknowledged 'obligations.


Referring now to one of my quotations, from the article on Iron, by Dr. C. R. Alder Wright, I make one or two remarks thereon. Dr. Wright says, that the Mushet-Heath process, is still used to some extent. This seems to imply, that generally it has fallen into disuse. On the contrary, every steel works in England, America, and France, makes use of it, and has done so, since 1800, and 1839. Were the steel makers, deprived of their oxide of manganese, and their charcoal, and my triple metallic compound, of iron carbon and manganese, Sheffield would be ruined. It was this fact, which caused the Rhymer, to make the remark, which I have quoted.


Dr. Wright speaks of powdered charcoal, being put into the melting crucibles.  This is an error.  Pieces of charcoal are employed. Powdered charcoal, would be carried up the flues; at least, the greater portion of it would.


My patent process, of 22nd Sept. 1856, not only perfected the Bessemer process, but it set on foot, a very great and wealthy industry, namely, the manufacture of spiegeleisen, and rich spiegeleisen, termed "ferro manganese," upon a very large scale in England, and on the Continent.


In 1836, the annual production of spiegeleisen, was less than 2000 tons. In 1882, it was fully 280,000 tons, with a money value, of over one million sterling. This vast increase, being entirely due, to my invention.


It is said, that history will do justice to a man, who. in his lifetime, has been pretty well injured.  I however, by means of this little book, intend to put it out of the power, of present or future generations, to ignore my invention, and yet, many another man, might have done, what I have done, and no doubt would, only I got the start of them.


My invention, and Sir Henry Bessemer's, have made a great mark in the world, a very great mark indeed, so great, that I have sometimes thought, that the Iron and Steel Institute, might have made me, an honorary member, and the Royal Society an F. R. S., or that Her Gracious Majesty, might have revived my ancestors' title, of Knights Baronet, which was forfeited during the rebellion of Montrose. At all events, the vast industry of steel makers, including his Grace the Duke of Devonshire, who gets £I2,OOO per annum, out of my little process, might at least accord me1 a vote of thanks, for the wealth, my invention has brought to them. I should value any of these honours, very much, as I have valued the Gold Medal, so kindly presented to me, by the Iron and Steel Institute, and Sir Henry Bessemer, in 1876.


At an early period of my association, with the Ebbw Vale Iron Company, through their managing partner, Mr. Thomas Brown, I offered to arrange, the combined process of Mr. Bessemer and myself, thus :-- A blast furnace to be burdened, with red Hematite, or Elba iron ore; a trough to be arranged with a row of tuyeres, at one side, the trough being capable of elevation at that side, so as to raise the tuyeres above the metal, when desired.  The blast to be then stopped. and the spiegeleisen run into the de-carbonised iron, from a small blast furnace, burdened with the Spathose iron ore, of the Brendon Hills,-an ore rich in manganese, and the mines of which, were the property of the Ebbw Vale Iron Company.


I intended to adopt the ordinary blast, employed at that company's works, which ranged from 3 1/2 lbs. to 4 lbs. pillar, per square inch.  Mr. Brown, however, looked upon my proposal, as a visionary idea, and one quite impossible, to be carried out.


I should, however, have saved the cost and waste, of re-melting the pig iron, as well as the cost and waste, of re-melting the spiegeleisen ; and also the enormous cost of engines, powerful enough, to maintain a pillar of blast of 25 lbs. per square inch.  I knew that as long as the tuyeres1 were below the surface of the metal, the effect would be just the same, only at a very much lesser cost, for apparatus and blast. In my small hearth, the result was quite as good, with the tuyeres four inches', below the surface, of the metal, and a 3lbs. pillar of blast, as when they were 2in. below the surface, with 8 or 10 lbs. pillar of blast.


I made several attempts, to interest parties in this matter, but to no purpose.  My last attempt, was in 1877; but the party, a hematite iron  maker, did not, I suppose, think it of much importance. Naturally, however, others have by degrees, arrived at the knowledge I possessed, in 1856-7, and shallow horizontal blasts of moderate pillar, are found to answer, as well or better, than the tornado blasts, so strangely supposed to be necessary, to de-carbonise, large masses of molten cast iron.


It was no particular merit of mine, that in 1856-7, I had the opportunity of testing weak blast, and shallow tuyeres, as well as strong blast, and tuyeres deeply inserted, and found each method equally successful; but it was an important affair, and after twenty-six years, at last, apparently, it is coming to the front.


Mr. Bessemer himself, from the first, foresaw that it would be cheaper and better, to run the cast iron, direct from the blast furnace, into the converter; but it was a long while, and many years elapsed, before the direct process, was adopted, and similarly, a number of years passed by, before engineers discovered, that Bessemer-Mushet steel rails, were destined to replace iron rails, At the present time, they have almost completely done so.


In 1856-7, I predicted, that steel rails would, sooner or later, be made, at a cost of £5 per ton. I do not know that this prediction, has ever been quite fulfilled; but if not, it has been very closely approximated to.


Since writing as to my prediction in 1856, that steel rails would, sooner or later, be made at a cost of £5 per ton, I find that Messrs. C. Cammell and Co. have actually sold, 70,000 tons of steel rails, at that price F.O.B. in one order. So the prophet was right, in one respect, and I trust, for Messrs. Cammell's sake, that the profit, may be satisfactory also.


Since the Basic modification, of the Bessemer-Mushet process, has through the labours of Mr. G. J. Snelus, in the first instance, worked upon and amplified by Messrs. Thomas and Gilchrist, come into actual use, I see no reason, why steel should not be made, even to pay well, at £5 per ton.


The Basic process, has been a good deal enveloped in mystery, and in a multitude of capital letters, familiar enough to chemists, but terrible stumbling blocks, to the uninitiated.


I will attempt a simple explanation, of what probably takes place, in a converter,

charged with phosphoric cast iron, containing also silicon and carbon. Phosphorus and silicon, are extremely inflammable bases, and burn fiercely, when exposed to heat, and the action of oxygen. The immediate effect, then, of a blast of atmospheric air, applied to the melted cast iron in the converter, is, to consume both the phosphorus, and the silicon: the former becoming phosphoric acid; the latter silicic acid, which, in plain English, is sand. Now, phosphoric acid, set free from iron, has an affinity for oxide of iron, and forms with it phosphate of iron, which would pass off in the slag, if oxide of iron were present in sufficient quantity, to combine with, and saturate the whole of that acid.


There is, however, carbon present in the metal, and this deoxidises the phosphoric acid, so that the phosphorus returns, to the mass of iron.


The phosphate of iron, has also another enemy present, in the shape of the silicic

acid, set free by the combustion of the silicon of the cast iron, and from the wear and tear, of the converter lining.  Now, silicic acid, has a more powerful affinity, for oxide of iron, than phosphoric acid, so that the phosphate of iron, is decomposed, by the silicic acid, and silicate of iron is formed. The phosphoric acid set free, is then deoxidized, by the carbon present, and is restored, as phosphosphoric acid set free, is then deoxidised, by phosphorus, to the melted iron.  If, however, the silicic acid in the converter, is presented with a base, such as lime, magnesia, or alumina, for which it possesses a more powerful affinity, than it does for oxide of iron, then silicate of iron will no longer be formed; silicate of lime, magnesia, or alumina will be formed instead, and the phosphate of iron, will pass off as slag, after the carbon has been burnt out.


But again, phosphoric acid, has a stronger affinity for lime, than for oxide of iron, (ferric acid,) and therefore, if lime be introduced, in excess of that quantity, necessary to saturate, all the silicic acid present, then phosphate of lime is formed, and passes off in the slag, leaving the metal free, or practically free from phosphorus.


In reality, all the phosphorus passes off, in the slag, as phosphate of lime or iron. To effect this, the silicic acid, must be, so to speak. killed off, by lime, magnesia or alumina; and the presence of oxide of iron must be also ensured, either by adding it to the charge, or by generating it, by an over-blow; or by both methods.


Lime, also, should be in excess, so that some is left spare, after saturating the silicic acid, to form phosphate of lime, which passes off in the slag,


I think, I may here have given fairly, the rationale of the Basic process; but I am such a tyro in chemistry, that there are probably, some flaws in my reasoning.


To facilitate the Basic process, it is obvious, that the lining of the converter, should be as free as possible, from siliceous matter, so that a minimum of silicic acid, may be present in the converter. Hence lime bricks, and lime or magnesia linings, are adopted, and are most important, to the success of the Basic process.


To Mr. G. J. Snelus, the world is indebted, for first proving, on the scale of manufacture, the success of this method, by which the vilest, and most inferior pig iron can, by his modification, of the Bessemer-Mushet process, be converted, into steel rails, plates, etc., equal in quality, to those prepared, from the purest Hematite irons.  Of course, in the Basic process, it is desirable, that the phosphorus should pass off in the slag, as phosphate of lime, as the waste will then be less, than if it passed off,. as phosphate of iron.


During the progress of the Bessemer - Mushet process of steel making, I have been filled with amazement, that steel makers should conceive it to be necessary, to employ stupendous blasts of air, up to 25 lbs. pressure per square inch, and to apply these Eolean hurricanes, at the bottom of the melted cast iron, operated upon.  I was well aware, that an ordinary blast of 3 to 4lbs. pillar, applied a few inches beneath the surface of the metal, would at much less cost, and wear and tear, de-carbonise the iron, and do all, that the present tornado blast, can effect.


I see, however, that this discovery, of low pressure blast, and shallow tuyeres, has recently been patented, with some additions, by Messrs. Clapp and Griffiths.  It is a move in the right direction, and I wish them every success, they can desire.


One great advantage in the use of side blasts, and low pressure of blast, will be, that in place of an inordinate quantity of lime, and iron ore, or oxide of iron, having, as at present. to be heaped upon the surface of the charge, these substances may, in determinate and regulated proportions, be blown into the metal, through the tuyeres.


It may be objected, that the introduction of pulverised substances in this manner, may tend to chill the charge of metal, in the converter; but there are methods, by which all danger of any chilling effect, may be completely obviated, and the charge worke'd off quicker, than can at present be done.  If the blast were desiccated, for instance, as proposed by Mr. W. H. Fryer, of Coleford, according to the method patented recently by that gentleman, an increase of temperature would be gained in the converter.


In looking back twenty-six years, to the time when Mr. Bessemer's process and mine, were made the subject of patents, I may observe, that the loss of my patent, through the inconceivable neglect of the trustees, in whose hands it was placed, left me, without any share in the enormous royalties, reaped, from the success of our joint processes. In consequence of this, the world, true to itself, has done its best, to ignore me, and my process.


The world shuns the man, who does not get the money; and though my process, being as it is, essential to the success of Sir Henry Bessemer's process, Dr. Siemens' open hearth method, and indeed, to those of all manufacturers of cheap steel, has necessarily been alluded to, it has been with bated breath, from time to time, and as a matter of course, which as it were, invented itself, and sprang at once into existence, as Minerva sprang from Jupiter's brain; but my process has been sedulously kept, as dark as possible, and as for my name, why, in the words of the old song, slightly altered, it has been,


"0 no, we never mention him,

His name is never told."


There are exceptions, exceptio firmat  regulam, and some men, have been bold enough, and honourable enough, to do justice to myself, and to my process, but 6f public recognition, save in the instance of the Bessemer medal? awarded to me in 1876, my process has had none.


After watching events for twenty-six years, I reso1ved to put it out of the power of the world, i.e., the metallurgical world, any longer to shelve my process, or to ignore me. Hence, I have published this little book, which for all 'time, will stand as a record of what I have done, and what my invention has done, and is doing.  I might have amplified the matter, and made a thick quarto volume, in place of a thin octavo; but it is big enough, for my purpose.


I owe nothing to the world; but the world is largely indebted to Sir Henry Bessemer, and to myself. I owe nothing to any steel maker, for my knowledge, such as it is. I was never inside any steel works, but my own. I have no special talent to boast of; but I had perseverance, and inflexible determination, which have given me a measure of success, and I am told, my steel is preferred, though at a higher price, to any other steel manufactured, at home or abroad.


I fear many, who may deem my book worthy of a perusal, will consider me, as egotistical and self-asserting; 'but with the object I had in view, I could scarcely, consistently, write otherwise.


In conclusion, I purpose to set at rest a confusion, which has arisen, from terming

spiegeleisen, containing a large percentage of metallic manganese, "ferro manganese." This has given rise to the idea, that my processes has 'been set aside, by means of employing ferro manganese, in place of spiegeleisen.


At the date of my patent, viz: 22nd Sept. 1856, spiegeleisen, as' then manufactured, contained about 8 per cent. of metallic manganese.  My claim was, for the addition of a triple metallic compound, of iron, carbon and manganese, to cast iron, which, when in a melted state, had been de-carbonised, by forcing atmospheric air through it.


At the date of my patent, which is now termed ferro manganese, and which is also a triple metallic compound, of iron, carbon, and manganese, was only a laboratory product.


When, however, the absolute necessity of introducing metallic manganese, into Bessemer metal, was fully recognised, it led Spiegel makers, to produce a spiegeleisen, as rich as possible in manganese, and this has been done to such an extent, that sometimes the rich Spiegel, called ferro manganese, contains 77 1/2 per cent. of metallic manganese; but the addition of this rich Spiegel, is just as much my process, as if the triple compound, contained only 8 per cent. of metallic manganese.


Ferro manganese, as now produced on the large scale, contains usually, some phosphorus and sulphur, from which the' old fashioned Rhenish Spiegel Eisen, was almost absolutely free, so that with it, and pure Hematite iron, a tougher soft steel was produced, than can now be manufactured.


Though, I never visited Sheffield, that great centre of the steel trade, it is very largely indebted to me; not merely for my Spiegel invention, but for my discovery of the great value of Kaolin, or Cornish china clay, in mixture with the ordinary fire clays of the coal formation, in the manufacture of melting pots, or crucibles, in which the steel is fused. Before I made this discovery, the charge of a melting pot, was about 36 lbs., and two such pots, were placed in each furnace, or, as it is called, "melting hole." With my new mixture of clay, I found I could safely increase the weight of the charge per pot to 56 lbs., or even to 60 lbs., and I could work four pots in each melting hole, in place of only two.


In America they make pots, with a mixture of Kaolin, and charge them with 80 or I00 lbs. of steel.


I kept my invention secure for some years; but it was betrayed, by two of my workmen, and has in thirty years, saved many millions sterling, to the Sheffield steel makers. It is almost superfluous to add, that I never received the slightest acknowledgement, for the benefit my invention had conferred.


The furnaces, or melting holes, which I used, in 1849 to 1853, were square, so as to hold four pots each, and were built with a red. grit stone, lying under the Farewell Rock. These furnaces, lasted six weeks, before requiring to be rebuilt.  Each ton of steel melted, consumed only 41 cwts. of coke, for its production.


The men I employed, had like myself, never seen any steel works; but they took a pride in their work, and soon became fairly expert. When I subsequently employed as melters some Sheffield men, of the names of Morehouse and Bull, they would not face the four pot melting holes, and I then adopted ganister linings, in place of grit stone, and two pots in place of four, in each melting hole.


Like the majority of inventors, I have benefited others, but not myself, and I have been very hardly dealt with, 'as much so, perhaps, as an inventor has ever yet been; but I have accepted it all, cheerfully, and without repining, though I have often felt sorry for those, who in their dealings with me, forsook the paths of honour and integrity, and took an unworthy advantage of me.


Mr. C. I. Valentine, of the Moss Bay Iron Company, is the only member of the iron trade from whom, since the loss of my patent, I ever received, either kindness or sympathy; and Mr. Samuel Osborn, of the Clyde Steel Works, is the only steel manufacturer who has dealt honourably and kindly with' me: and to both these gentlemen, and their respective firms, I tender thus publicly, my sincere thanks.


I do not, of course, class Sir Henry Bessemer as a steel manufacturer, 'but as an inventor, who has called into successful activity, a great many steel manufacturers. For what he has kindly done for me, I thank him also, very much'.