1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Damask Steel

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DAMASK STEEL, or Damascus Steel, a steel with a peculiar watered or streaked appearance, as seen in the blades of fine swords and other weapons of Oriental manufacture. One way of producing this appearance is to twist together strips of iron and steel of different quality and then weld them into a solid mass. A similar but inferior result may be obtained by etching with acid the surface of a metal; parts of which are protected by some greasy substance in such a way as to give the watered pattern desired. The art of producing damask steel has been generally practised in Oriental countries from a remote period, the most famous blades having come from Isfahan, Khorasan, and Shiraz in Persia.