Who made the steel


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Jan 2, 1997
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hi - quick question - can anyone tell me where the steel for the hull came from ? Is there a thread on the site that answers that ?
 
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Scott R. Andrews

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Susan,

The steel was produced by David Colville & Sons Ltd., Dalzell Works, Motherwell, Scotland. They supplied everything from steel sheet and plate through structural shapes such as angle, channel, T-, I- and H-section.

Scott Andrews
 
Jan 2, 1997
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Too right, Michael. On Friday (6 August ) I was lucky enough to be on the PS Waverley going down the Clyde - it's tragic to go past the site of the shipyards and see nothing but grass and mud. Even the site of John Browns - where they built the Lusitania, Aquitania and two Queens is nothing more than a mudflat. Grrrrr.....
 
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Colin Findlay

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Although David Colville & Sons no longer exists as a company name, Dalzell steelworks does still exist. It became part of Colvilles Ltd, then British Steel Corporation and is now part of Corus. Its basic open hearth furnaces closed in 1978 but its relatively new heavy plate mill is still in operation. When the Titanic was built Dalzell had a worldwide reputation for high quality steel, indeed the first steel plates rolled in the United States were made from steel slabs supplied from Dalzell Works.
 

Jamie Bryant

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Aug 30, 2003
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Was that the company that was responsible for the high content of sulphur in Titanic's steel, which resulted in her steel becoming brittle in low temperatures?
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Yes, that was the company. They made the steel, and having made it, would be the ones who would have been responsible for any of it's good and bad qualities.

Having said that, I wouldn't get too carried away with the Brittle steel thing as there is no real evidence that it played any signifigent role on the disaster. Any modern ship with modern steels having suffered similar damage would have gone to the bottom as well. For more information, insights, and opinions on this, click on the following links: The Royal Mail Ship Titanic: Did a Metallurgical Failure Cause a Night to Remember?

NIST Webpage for Tim Foecke

Marconigraph.com Be sure to click on "Titanic" in the frame on the left, then on Sparks Titanic FAQs by Parks Stephenson
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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I thought the stern frame was built by the Darlington Steel Forge company (Darlo' being my home town by the way).

Cheers

Paul

 

Dennis Smith

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Aug 24, 2002
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Hi Paul,

Just to confirm what you already know, according to the book "The Birth of Titanic" the stern frame (Made of Special Mild Steel??) was indeed made by The Darlington Forge Co.

Any idea about the significance of the "Special Mild Steel" used ??

Best wishes and Rgds

Dennis
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Sadly I don't. I do have a bit more info on the Forge though. After the brittle steel tests were done, local rag "The Northern Echo" ran a story called "Titanic experts sink careless captain theory".

The relevant bits are thus:
"The Titanic has strong North-East connections, Its rudder brackets and stern frame were made by the Darlington Forge Company, which closed in 1967".
"The Forge formed the backbone of Britain's shipping industry and during its ehydey employed more than 1000 people making castings for battleships and merchant vessels. It formed a formidable partnership with the nearby Consett steelworks which produced the raw materials for making ship hulls".

"David Adamson, a North-East British Steel spokesman based in Redcar said:" I don't think we have any records that go that far back. It seems to be to be just speculation".

Hopefully this is of use to someone?

With best wishes

Paul

 
Sep 28, 2002
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The steel used to construct Titanic was the best possible material available in 1909. Remember it is the only liner in the world to have sunk an enemy submarine. Or if you want to mention the chappy test, don't forget that test sidn't start until 1948.

Before you mention the rivets, remember the same rivets are still holding in the Thompson Dry Dock in Belfast.

If you want to see the material, have a look at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, by this time the owners of the Steel Manufacters were Harland and Wolff.
 

Jeremy Lee

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Jun 12, 2003
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Yeah, I am puzzled why ships still sink today even with better steel!!!
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Sep 5, 2001
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During an AP European History class discussion of the Second Industrial Revolution, a student questioned the relative merits of the Bessemer Process, developed in England, and the Siemens Process, in Germany. Because I have posters of Titanic in my classroom, the discussion naturally moved in that direction.

Can anybody explain the benefits of one method over the other in the production of steamships and naval ships from the First World War era?

Was German steelmaking truly more advanced or of higher quality than British steelmaking? I have always been under the impression that British steelmaking was inferior to German steelmaking. If I am incorrect, will someone with the appropriate knowledge please correct me and explain the differences?
 
Dec 29, 2006
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It is surely absurd to suggest that "British steelmaking was inferior to German steelmaking". Is that what they are teaching in schools these days? I think there may be confusion here between steelmaking - a basic industrial process - and the distribution of armour on British and German battleships. It is well known that the German warships used in World War I were more heavily armoured than some of their British counterparts and, in particular, they were much better protected in relation to the effects of plunging fire. The British battlecruisers that blew up at Jutland were built for speed and had less armour - although there was probably little difference between the British and German battleships. None of this has any bearing on the construction of merchant vessels such as the Titanic.
 

Paul Rogers

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Jun 1, 2000
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A trawl of t'internet seems to indicate that the Siemens process "complemented" rather than improved on the Bessemer process.

Having said this, one source here states:
quote:

After 1900 the Bessemer process was rapidly replaced by an alternative method, the Siemens-Martin or open hearth process. This allowed precise control of temperatures resulting in better quality steel.
Another document here, (an HTML version of a MS-Word document), states:
quote:

Although Bessemer steel was slow in being adopted, and suffered from poor quality control, [my emphasis] it nevertheless stimulated demand for low phosphor ores. Demand further increased after 1868, and the development of the Siemens open-hearth process. Production of Siemens steel was slower, controllable, and better able to provide a consistent product. [my emphasis] It still required pig iron low in phosphor but, in addition, it could process a high proportion of scrap iron and steel. These were later collectively referred to as the ‘acid’ steel processes.
Given the above, I don't think it's necessarily "absurd" to assume that one country's process is/was potentially superior to another's. Improvements and innovation happen continuously and therefore someone must lead the field at any given point in time. Different manufacturing processes will yield different results after all.

All of the above was the result of a quick 'n' dirty search and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information linked. Like Mr Robison, I hope that someone with real knowledge of steel-making can add to this potentially fascinating subject.​
 
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