What Did William Kelly Invent?


Quick Answer

American William Kelly invented the pneumatic process for making steel. In this process, air is forced through molten pig iron to oxidize impurities and remove them.

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Full Answer

Early in the 1840s, Kelly and his brother established the Eddyville Iron Works in Kentucky. In 1847, Kelly began experimenting with ways to save on fuel costs at the iron works. He learned that blasting molten cast iron with air would increase the temperature of the iron, because the carbon impurities in the iron acted as fuel. Around 1850, Kelly was able to produce iron and steel using his process, although the quality wasn't always reliable. Rather than seeking a patent on his process, he continued to work on perfecting it. He finally applied for a patent, which was granted in 1857.

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