The History of Steel

In case you didn’t know, the majority of our products here at MMH are made of steel.


Because steel simply has the best balance of strength and durability for an affordable price.  It’s also highly resistant to rust and easier to weld than many other metals.  There’s a reason why it’s most of the most produced materials in the entire world.  In fact, over 1 billion tons of steel are produced every year.

That steel is used to make everything from skyscrapers and bridges to our very own loading dock ramps.

What is Steel?

It may look like a Star Wars droid, but this is part of the steel manufacturing process.

Steel is made by combining iron and carbon along with a few other elements.  The amount of carbon use the manufacturing typically determines what grade the steel is.  Two materials very similar to steel in their makeup are cast iron and wrought iron.

The History of Steel

Steel in one form or another has been around for a few millennia.  In fact, the oldest steel finding is dated to be 4000 years old!  While steel was hardly common place in ancient civilization, there were many cultures who used it in one form or another.  Both the Romans and the Chinese used it for military purposes.

However, steel creation was much more difficult at that time and the process as a whole took quite a while.  It wasn’t until the end of the Renaissance era that steel creation became a bit more refined (no pun intended).

Steel efficiency steadily grew from there and by the 1800’s, steel could be inexpensively mass produced.  Not only was it easier to make, but the quality the considerably better.

With the combination of the industrial revolution, nationally sprawling railway systems, and the booming growth of the shipping industry, steel became one of the most in demand products in our country.

For many decades, the United States was the leader in steel production by far.

Steel Today

While steel is still as popular as ever, it’s not the American juggernaut it once was.  Companies like Bethlehem steel (which was once one of the biggest industrial manufacturing companies in the world) have now closed their doors.

In fact, the US isn’t even in the top ten of steel manufacturers in the world.  The biggest steel company is US Steel.  Though the company has been around for quite some time (one of its founders was JP Morgan), it is nowhere near the dominant force it once was.

Nevertheless, the steel industry itself remains strong and steel products are better than they’ve ever been.  Until something better comes along, we will continue to use steel.

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