Iron And Steel In History :

It is believed that iron in pre-historic times may have been obtained from fragments of meteorites and it remained a rare metal for many centuries. Even after man learned how to extract iron from its ores, the product probably was so relatively soft and unpredictable, that bronze continued to be preferred for tools and weapons. Eventually iron replaced the non-ferrous metal for these purposes when man learned how to master the difficult arts of smelting, forging, hardening and tempering iron.

Man's use of iron in antiquity is attested by references to the metal in fragmentary writing and inscriptions from the ancient civilizations of Babylon, Egypt, China, India, Greece and Rome. Archeological finds in Mesopotamia and Egypt are proof that iron, and later steel, have been in the service of mankind for almost 6000 years. In early times, iron was melted with the use of charcoal made from wood. Later coal was discovered as a great source of heat. Subsequently, it was converted into coke, which was found to be ideal for smelting of iron ore.

Iron kept its dominant position for around 200 or more years after the Saugus works, the first successful iron works in America, was founded in 1646. With the advance of the Industrial Revolution, iron formed the rails for the newly invented railroad trains. It was also used to armour the sides of the fighting ships. About the mid-19th century, the age of steel began with the invention of the Bessemer process (1856), which allowed steel to be made in large quantities and at reasonable cost.

Use Of Iron In Ancient India:

Indian history is also full of references to the use of iron and steel. Some of the ancient monuments like the famous Iron pillar in New Delhi or the massive beams used in the Sun Temple at Konark bear ample testimony to the technological excellence of ancient Indian metallurgists.

The use of iron in India goes back to the ancient era. Vedic literary sources such as the Rig Veda, the Atharva Veda, the Puranas and epics are filled with references to iron and to its uses in peace and war. According to one of the studies, iron has been produced in India for over 3000 years in primitive, small-scale facilities.

Some Milestones In Iron And Steel In Indian History:-