Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/25

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15
AMERICAN INDUSTRIES SINCE COLUMBUS.

unideal. We need the infusion of a spirit of culture into the national thought and life, if we are to realize the destiny which seems possible to us.

The preaching of Peter the Hermit aroused all Europe. The present occasion is less picturesque, but the crusade which it preaches stands for interests much more vital than the recovery of Jerusalem.


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THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN INDUSTRIES SINCE COLUMBUS.

IX. THE MANUFACTURE OF STEEL. {Concluded.)

By WILLIAM F. DURFEE, Engineer.

WHILE the Englishmen, Bessemer and Parry, and the American, Martien, were experimenting in England, the germ which they were trying to develop into vigorous life had been discovered in America; for the evidence is unimpeachable that the late William Kelly had been for several years experimenting in the same direction as his English contemporaries. We are indebted to Mr. James M. Swank for securing a description of these experiments from Mr. Kelly himself; and the reader who desires to see the most complete account yet published of them will find it in Mr. Swank's Iron in all Ages.

Mr. Kelly and his brother bought the Eddyville Iron Works, in Kentucky, in 1846. Their product was pig metal and charcoal blooms. As a result of close study, the idea occurred to Mr. Kelly that in the refining process fuel would be unnecessary after the iron was melted, if powerful blasts of air were forced into the fluid metal, for the heat generated by the union of the oxygen of the air with the carbon of the metal would be sufficient to accomplish the refining. He first built a small blast-furnace, about twelve feet high, in which to test this idea. The furnace had two tuyères, one above the other, the upper one to melt the stock, and the lower to convey the blast into the metal. He began his experiments in October, 1847, but was interrupted by other work, and did not find time to take them up again till 1851. Finding that this furnace was not capable of melting the iron properly, he decided to separate his refining process from the melting operation, and take the metal already melted from the blast-furnace. In these experiments he was endeavoring to produce malleable iron.

"With this object in view," says Mr. Kelly, "I built a furnace, consisting of a square brick abutment, having a circular chamber inside, the bottom of which was concave like a molder's ladle. In the bottom was fixed a circular tile of fire-clay, perforated for