If the First Industrial Revolution caused the growth of industries like coal, iron and textiles, the Second Industrial Revolution gave birth to petroleum, electricity and steel.
Also known as the Technological Revolution, the Second Industrial Revolution was the phase of rapid industrialization that began in the late 19th century. Thanks to the advancements in the manufacturing and production technology, technological systems like the telegraph, railroad networks and sewage systems expanded to more cities, enabling the ease of life among citizens. The development of rail and telegraph lines allowed more freedom of knowledge, information and ideas as well as the unprecedented movement of people from one place to another.
The changes that occurred during this period had something to do with the new products replacing old ones. Even though iron was rampant during the Second Industrial Revolution, steel began to replace it because it was far more durable. People utilized it for construction projects, industrial machines, railroads and ships, among many others. With the discovery of the Bessemer process by Henry Bessemer in 1856, manufacturing steel became cheaper and easier. More steel was available, resulting into railroads and machines to be built at competitive costs.
The Bessemer Process
The Bessemer process is the first inexpensive industrial process from the mass production of steel from molten pig iron. This process involves removing the impurities from the iron by oxidation. Sir Henry Bessemer came up with this method because he wanted to know how to manufacture inexpensive steel. Before the Bessemer process was patented, steel was so expensive that it was only used to make small things like knives, tools and the occasional weapon. Major industries used to rely on cast iron and wrought iron to make bridges and railroad systems despite the fact that iron has a brittle nature. There would be news about iron beams suddenly collapsing, causing accidents. Because of this predicament, people became desperate in looking for material more durable than iron.
Thanks to the Bessemer process, steel manufacture became cheap and the sales and speed of production increased. This method also decreased the labor requirements for steel-making. This made users turn to steel-making, particularly those who are involved with infrastructures. Steel railroads are stronger and can withstand heavier weight compared to iron, making it more advantageous to business.
Even though modern steel production companies stopped using the Bessemer process in 1968, this method remained an essential part of the steel legacy. Without it, nothing will make way for more efficient techniques in producing steel.
Steel is considered as one of the most used objects by mankind. In the Philippines, building design services and some steel bars and plates are important especially during construction. Vehicles, bridges, buildings, and even your conventional kitchen knife are made of steel. This alloy was first used as a weapon by the Chinese during the Warring States Period. However, it was during the Second Industrial Revolution when steel paved its way in the construction and urbanization of the society.
About the author:
Katrina is your average gal living inside the metro who has passion for writing, travel and photography. She admires nature at its finest and always wanted to become one of them. Dreaming to have the Cinderella life one day, humming with the birds, dancing with the clouds.