Sir Henry Bessemer created a new process for making steel and his earliest Bessemser Converters were sited at Workington and Millom Cumbria UK.
West Cumbria is blessed with coal, iron ore and limestone so iron making became well established at Workington and Millom with ships, locos and machines made from cast iron. But brittle iron needed to be turned into high quality steel. Fortunately Henry Bessemer’s invented a convertor the first of which were sited at Millom and Workington and tough flexible steel was then rolled at Workington’s steel works to make rails. Even when the Bessemer convertor closed and steel production ended there were steel ingots brought from more efficient works to be rolled into steel rails and exported around the world. The loading, firing and transport of molten steel in the Bessemer Convertor is shown with workers before health and safety improved dangerous working practices.
Please visit http://thiswascumbria.uk to view images and video.
For further information please contact peterincumbria at gmail dot com.
Created / Uploaded by Peter Nicholson
This brought back memories. I worked in this Bessemer in the 60’s. Working a 3 shift pattern at age 16. My first job was to take samples of the molten metal as it was being poured into the ingot molds. Standing on the gantry above the newly filled molds, the heat was tremendous and reaching out over them to take a sample needed nerve. My next job was to fetch and carry for the ‘Stopper man’ who built and fitted the stoppers into the ladle after it had been poured. The stopper ( or plug ) only lasted one pour. The ladle would still be extremely hot but needed for the next blow so no time to let it cool. We were in range of the shower of sparks from the Bessemer so needed to move sharply when the hooter sounded. From this job I moved to driving the slag bogie. The slag bogie pushed and pulled a slag pan under the converter at the end of each blow to enable any leftover slag to be poured out. My last job in the Bessemer was to drive the slag mill overhead crane, picking up slag pans and emptying out the solid for disposal. These were all job’s filled by boys who became men and were paid men’s wages aged 18. Happy Days.