The development and history of steel has been integral to the construction of the United States as we know it today. For example, the skyscrapers that shape the skylines of every major American city are possible due to steel. Essentially, everything from the Empire State Building to the electrical appliances in your kitchen contain this versatile material.
In the past, iron was the metal of choice for thousands of years. Despite having it at our disposal for so long, construction with iron is a recent concept from the Industrial Revolution. Although a more primitive form, low-scale steel production transversed many countries and empires of the past. However, the large scale at which steel is produced was not possible until the last two centuries.
The century between 1750 and 1850 saw the rise of large-scale steel production. Inventions like the steam mill, steam-powered roller, and Bessemer process created stronger steel on unprecedented scale. This gave way to the mass construction of steel buildings and structures that Andrew Carnegie led.
The late 1800s gave birth to the Brooklyn Bridge and the first skyscrapers. Railroad construction across the world connected previously isolated regions with stronger and more efficient steel. Steel was also a large players during WWII for military purposes in wartime. And in all that time between, its popularity has not waned.
Nowadays, steel is everywhere. Not just skyscrapers, but nearly every residential and commercial building contains some amount of steel. From electrical boxes to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world – it’s all steel.
Steel is strong, versatile, inexpensive, and 100% recyclable. The majority of steel goes to the construction industry, and with good reason. Steel has shaped the world as we know it.
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