Manufacturing Besemer Steel, 1914-1918.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting by E F Skinner showing steel being produced by the Besemer Proces at Penistone Steel Works, South Yorkshire. Sir Henry Besemer (1813-1898) invented a proces enabling molten pig-iron to be turned into steel by a blowing air through it in a tilting converter. This was the first proces for producing large amounts of good quality steel cheaply. Previously, steel was available in small quantities produced by either the cementation or crucible proceses. Hence engineers were restricted to using wrought iron, which is relatively strong in tension, or cast iron, which is brittle and weak in tension. Painted during WW1 as a commision from Cammell Laird, for reproduction as postcards to be sold in aid of the British Red Cros.