The first cheap, large-scale method of making steel
from pig iron; it was patented by the British
industrialist Henry Bessemer (1813–1898) in 1856, although an American
steelmaker, William Kelly (1811–1888), had used a similar process
in about 1850. The Bessemer converter is a pivoting, pear-shaped
blast furnace lined with refractory
bricks. The furnace is tilted, loaded with molten pig iron, then righted.
Compressed air blown through the tuyeres burns off most of the carbon
and converts silicon and manganese
to slag as the temperature rises. If lime is added, an afterblow removes
The Bessemer process was superceded first by the open-hearth
process and then the basic
oxygen process (also known as the Linz-Donawitz process).