History of ferrous metallurgy

By the historical periods of the Pharaohs in Egypt, the Vedic Kings in India, the Tribes of Israel, and the Maya civilization in North America, among other ancient populations, precious metals began to have value attached to them. In some cases rules for ownership, distribution, and trade were created, enforced, and agreed upon by the respective peoples. By the above periods metalworkers were very skilled at creating objects of adornment, religious artifacts, and trade instruments of precious metals (non-ferrous), as well as weaponry usually of ferrous metals and/or alloys. These skills were finely honed and well executed. The techniques were practiced by artisans, blacksmiths, atharvavedic practitioners, alchemists, and other categories of metalworkers around the globe. For example, the ancient technique of granulation is found around the world in numerous ancient cultures before the historic record shows people traveled seas or overland to far regions of the earth to share this process that is still being used by metalsmiths today. As time progressed metal objects became more common, and ever more complex. The need to further acquire and work metals grew in importance. Skills related to extracting metal ores from the earth began to evolve, and metalsmiths became more knowledgeable. Metalsmiths became important members of society. Fates and economies of entire civilizations were greatly affected by the availability of metals and metalsmiths. The metalworker depends on the extraction of precious metals to make jewelry, build more efficient electronics, and for industrial and technological applications from construction to shipping containers to rail, and air transport. Without m

tals, goods and services would cease to move around the globe on the scale we know today. More individuals than ever before are learning metalworking as a creative outlet in the forms of jewelry making, hobby restoration of aircraft and cars, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, tinkering, and in other art and craft pursuits. Trade schools continue to teach welding in all of its forms, and there is a proliferation of schools of Lapidary and Jewelers arts and sciences at this- the beginning of the 21st Century AD. Ferrous metallurgy began far back in prehistory. The earliest surviving iron artifacts, from the 5th millennium BC in Iran and 2nd millennium BC in China, were made from meteoritic iron-nickel. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC iron was being produced from iron ores from South of the Saharan Africa to China. The use of wrought iron was known in the 1st millennium BC. During the medieval period, means were found in Europe of producing wrought iron from cast iron (in this context known as pig iron) using finery forges. For all these processes, charcoal was required as fuel. Steel (with a smaller carbon content than pig iron but more than wrought iron) was first produced in antiquity. New methods of producing it by carburizing bars of iron in the cementation process were devised in the 17th century. In the Industrial Revolution, new methods of producing bar iron without charcoal were devised and these were later applied to produce steel. In the late 1850s, Henry Bessemer invented a new steelmaking process, involving blowing air through molten pig iron, to produce mild steel. This and other 19th century and later processes have led to wrought iron no longer being produced.