Harry Brearley, British stainles steel pioneer, c 1920s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Sheffield-born son of a steel worker, Harry Brearley (1871-1948) pioneered the commercial development of stainles steels. Brearley was working in the laboratory of the steel works of Thomas Firth and Sons, Sheffield, when in 1913 he produced the first true stainles steel. Sheffield has a long-standing reputation for producing high quality cutlery, and the development of the first steel that did not rust was a significant moment in metallurgical history.