Pioneers: The Battle for Steel Supremacy - Full Documentary

Pioneers: The Battle for Steel Supremacy - Full Documentary

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[narrator] Steel. A giant amongst materials, it stands for industrial progress, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Steel is the superstar of the modern era. And he stands for a great German dynasty, Alfred Krupp, a pioneer who made steel production his passion. This is my music. [narrator] And it was played in Essen, the seat of an established business empire.

[interpreter] He was obsessed and driven by his idea. [narrator] Just like his rival, Jacob Mayer wanted to attempt the impossible and cast steel in moulds. Come here, all of you! [interpreter] As a great inventor, you need to be a little bit crazy. [narrator] The great Alfred Krupp didn't believe in Mayer's vision. Mayer's a fraud, I'm telling you.

[interpreter] Then things got nasty. Are you calling me a charlatan? Yes. A charlatan. That was heavy. [narrator] Two rivals who could not have been more different: a controversial invention and a revolutionary way of taming steel. -[bell tolling] -[mourners whispering] [narrator] When steel magnate Friedrich Krupp passed away in Essen on October the 8th, 1826, death bells were also sounding for his company. My dear Mrs. Krupp, please accept my sincerest condolences.

[Mrs. Krupp] That's most kind of you. [narrator] For Krupp's eldest son, hard times lay ahead. Alfred was only 14 when he lost his father. [speaking German] [interpreter] His inheritance consisted of a tiny house, three siblings he had to take care of, a handful of workers, and debts which, in today's money, amounted to about a million euros. He was hopelessly indebted. Anyone else would have shut down the company.

[narrator] But for Alfred and his mother, closing down the steelworks forever was out of the question. Even in her grief, Theresia Krupp fought for every customer. Wait! My husband knew the recipe for cast steel. -My dear lady, I beg of you. -Believe me. He revealed it to my eldest son. Yes, Mrs. Krupp.

[narrator] No one was willing to believe Krupp's widow. His ruinous business dealings had seriously damaged the family's reputation. It was up to young Alfred to restore it. The teenager had neither money nor training. But he did have ambition.

[interpreter] He wanted, of course, to prove that the family were not failures. [narrator] Alfred decided that he was going to be the best steel producer of them all. [furnaces roaring] But the masters of the trade were to be found not in Germany but in England. The world's finest steel products came from Sheffield.

The British had long since realized that steel was the material of the future. In a secret process, they alloyed molten iron with other metals to produce the material which the age of industrialization so urgently needed. Steel is much harder and more flexible than iron. It can be melted down and processed time and again: forged and pressed, formed and rolled. [clock ticking] The first steel products were small but fine.

British watch-making tools soon conquered the world market. Craftsmen's workshops in Germany also used the filigree instruments from Britain, albeit often grudgingly. [steam whistle blowing] [scoffs] The English! [narrator] The British didn't limit themselves to small tools. Soon they were also supplying steel for heavy industry. For apprentice watchmaker Jacob Mayer, seeing ships sailing past on the Rhine was the highlight of the day. Is that steel? It's much harder and better than our iron.

[narrator] At the time, the Germans did not know how the British made their steel. It was a closely guarded secret. And the British profited handsomely from their competitive advantage.

Uncle, how do they do it? If I knew that, I wouldn't have to pay so much for their products. They're just so expensive. They cost me a fortune.

[narrator] Almost too much for many small firms. [interpreter] Precision tools had to be made of pure steel. So firms were dependent on it.

[narrator] One evening, young Jacob Mayer was witness to a little experiment. Watchmaker Mauch wanted to manufacture the exorbitantly expensive tools himself. Jacob watched his uncle melt down a pair of broken pliers. He poured the molten steel straight into a mould he had made himself, no rolling, no forging, no intermediate steps. ♪ Don't stop me now ♪ Young Jacob was enthralled. He thought his master's idea of pouring molten steel straight into a mould was simply brilliant.

[interpreter] Mauch didn't achieve much, and Mayer said later he'd done virtually everything wrong. But the idea was there. [narrator] And Jacob's rather dull apprenticeship proved worthwhile after all.

He had no idea that one day with this idea, he would compete against a powerful steel magnate. In those days, the two knew nothing of each other, not even when Alfred Krupp and Jacob Mayer both went to England to engage in some industrial espionage. [interpreter] In the 19th century, the Germans were what the Chinese are today: industrial spies on a grand scale. The idea was to go where something was made, bring it back and copy it.

There was no such thing as patent protection. [narrator] And so Jacob Mayer tried to cast steel according to British standards. Oh dear, everything's shattered. We've got to find clay like the British use. -[metal clangs] -Herr Mayer, Herr Mayer! -Take a look at this. -What about it?

It's not cracked. Show me. Where did you get the clay? -From the Eifel. -From the Eifel? Brandenburg, that's it. -That's our clay. -[men laughing] [narrator] Now at last, Mayer had a fire-proof clay crucible which would enable him to make steel.

Mwah! [narrator] In Bochum in 1842, the young entrepreneur manufactured his products made of cast steel. And the quality was excellent. -Boss, take a look. -What have you got? From one cast: with steel from the new crucibles. But we can do better. [narrator] A breakthrough: but no big advantage, because in nearby Essen, an equal competitor was at work.

Alfred Krupp lived for his steel company and for nothing else. Things were not good in his still young marriage. He had wed Bertha Eichhoff, a civil servant's daughter with a creative streak.

[interpreter] And where did they move to in Essen? Into a house in the middle of the factory premises. [hammer pounding] [speaking German] [interpreter] There was smoke and soot, and a hammer which made so much noise that it shattered the porcelain in the glass cabinets in the house. Alfred, why don't we go to a concert again? [distant pounding] [pounding grows louder] This, my dear Bertha...

[pounding continues] ...this is my music. [narrator] Life on the side-lines. Dust and soot added to Bertha's woes. In the end she suffered from asthma. [speaking German] [interpreter] He could be stubborn and assertive at the expense of all else. He was really obsessed and driven by his idea. [pounding continues] [narrator] Alfred Krupp's ambition knew no bounds.

At times it was even brutal. But it brought him success. The company was manufacturing on a grand scale and profits were increasing on a regular basis.

The factory in Essen never stood still. As a manager with a particular feel, Alfred secured crisis-proof contracts time and again. For instance, Germany's small states needed coins. Krupp minted them. Germany's middle-class households wanted cutlery.

Krupp made it. The name Krupp became synonymous with top quality "made in Germany." [hammer clanking] It was only when the Prussians needed new cannon that Jacob Mayer emerged as a serious competitor.

Brandenburg, say we wanted to forge cannon: how long would it take? Hmm. A week, perhaps. A whole week? [narrator] Cannon are harder to produce than coins or cutlery, simply because of their shape and size. What's more, Mayer also needed a vast number of clay crucibles for his ambitious project. And, not least, the forging required more time and money. If Mayer was to take on the cannon project, he had to come up with something. [speaking German] [interpreter] Then came the decisive thought: "Why can't I cast the steel straight into moulds?" What if we don't forge but cast in one piece? How long would that take? One or two hours, maybe.

[interpreter] Casting the barrel hollow straight away would be a lot faster, of course. An hour instead of a week: that's the answer. We'll cast things directly in large moulds. [interpreter] Obviously, anyone who could do that would have an advantage. That's it! [narrator] Mayer called his revolutionary idea "cast steel."

At last he was a step ahead of Krupp. Even today, 150 years later, the process is still a challenge. Casting steel means refining iron and constructing the required mould with millimetre precision and pouring the molten steel into the mould at the right moment, in this case to make a huge housing for a turbine. At the Voestalpine company in Linz, Austria, the production of four turbine housings is in process. The first hot phase began hours ago in the blast furnace. Ores for producing the raw iron were smelted in an oversized crucible.

When the material is molten and the furnace full, an electronic signal gives a warning: "stand clear, sparks." [alarm buzzing] Then the men at the blast furnace take over. Despite state-of-the-art technology, this is no job for softies. In intense heat, specialists have to tap the melt, and that can be dangerous at any time.

When the raw iron flows into the crucibles, it has a temperature of 1,400 degrees. Workers today wear fire-proof coats and special helmets as protection. But 150 years ago, all they had were ordinary leather aprons.

The first batches of pig iron are transported in huge ladles, slowly, at exactly three kilometres an hour. There must be no spillage, but the mass mustn't be allowed to cool too much either. The raw material is poured into the converter in a regular sequence. The ladles travel to and fro in a process that takes several hours.

But things don't always run smoothly. [indistinct radio chatter] Joe, tell him we're under pressure. The ladles have got to travel faster than three kilometres an hour.

[narrator] The speed is increased immediately. But the timing is wrong. So the ladles are not at the furnace at the right time to receive the next molten load. -[indistinct radio chatter] -OK, that's fine. [narrator] Problem solved.

But the tap is just the start of the cast. It's only in the converter that raw iron is turned into steel. [man speaking German] [interpreter] Steel lives. It flows and moves. And that's unbelievably beautiful.

[narrator] The cast will take place in about six hours. That's how long it takes to turn raw iron into steel. The temperature and mix of the various metals must be perfect.

[alarm sounding] [speaking German] [interpreter] It's a bit like cooking at home. You know what you want to make and have got all the ingredients together. You decide you need a pinch of this or that to get the best possible result. [narrator] For years now, the complex process of making steel has been computer-controlled. Mistakes must be ruled out, otherwise the steel will not have the required properties. In the first stage, tons of scrap iron are dumped into the converter in order to cool down the iron.

Then, oxygen is blown into the converter. This causes the temperature to rise again by several hundred degrees. The oxygen reduces the proportion of phosphorus and sulphur. They would make the steel brittle. This highly complex process produces the basic substances for the more than 2,000 types of steel on the market today.

Then, depending on what the steel will be used for, further metals, like nickel or manganese, are added. This high art is known as metallurgy, something steel manufacturers 150 years ago knew very little about. But that didn't stop Jacob Mayer from boasting to the Prussians about his cannon made of cast steel, which he didn't yet have.

[interpreter] A successful entrepreneur must always boast in the right place at the right time. [narrator] Mayer claimed that his cannon would never crack, because his cast steel was particularly tough. In reality that was a well-directed bluff. [speaking German] [interpreter] You must remember that anyone involved in armaments production enjoyed particular respect. They were always regarded as a patriot.

[narrator] Thus, minor steel producer Jacob Mayer would ascend into the realm of Alfred Krupp, a prospect Krupp did not relish. Herr Mayer has made us an interesting offer: cannon from crucible steel, cast in one pass. Steel is undoubtedly the best material. But it has to be processed properly. I have no time for the fantasies of my rivals, none at all.

[interpreter] It was now highly important for Krupp to keep this rival at arm's length. Take a look at this: forged. Hmm. Nice piece. And it functions perfectly. Weapons have to be forged, not cast. Believe me, I know what I'm saying.

[fires] [interpreter] When the great Krupp said: "Don't wait for Mayer; and besides he's only a bungler," it carried weight because Krupp had something to show. As yet Mayer had nothing to show. [narrator] Mayer had a promise to keep. He had neither money, nor many helpers. All he had was the alert mind of an inventor.

[speaking German] [interpreter] "I'll now continue experimenting and invent the mould material which will enable me to cast molten steel straight into moulds." [narrator] Sounds simple, but it's the essence of casting steel. [interpreter] Initially, the mould must keep the shape of the steel, but it must be able to give at the same rate as the steel contracts.

So a mould was needed which worked together with the steel: a demanding requirement. [narrator] So far no one had managed that. And Mayer experimented for a long time before he found the basic material for the mould: a mixture of sand and clay.

Come here. Everybody! [narrator] What Mayer has for his team sounds like a baking recipe. [Mayer] Heated clay. Brewer's yeast for the mould. [narrator] Protein binds it together. Inside the mould is coated with graphite, charcoal, and water.

We've got everything for the mould! [interpreter] What an invention, a great invention! [narrator] Because with the right coating, the casting can be detached cleanly from the mould. [speaking German] [interpreter] They were true pioneers. They achieved what they could with the means available.

And what they achieved was amazing. [narrator] Even today, moulds at Voestalpine in Linz in Austria are made from sand, in line with Mayer's principle. It's just that today's moulds are far more complex. [interpreter] Imagine casting something round is comparatively easy.

But when you see the complexity of steam turbines and gas turbines, you realize it's a huge challenge every time. As a moulder, you've got to be very creative. [narrator] A housing for a turbine consists of lots of windings, edges, and surfaces. Nevertheless, the cast must be carried out with millimetre accuracy. To achieve this, moulders first need a tailor-made model.

It's built from wood over several weeks and almost entirely by hand. Machines only take over when manual work is no longer accurate enough. [tools whirring] But the wooden model is by no means everything. It merely provides the pattern for the actual casting mould. And it's manufactured in the next stage.

The wooden shell, which is as high as a house, is put in position by a crane. The model must not shift even by a millimetre when the special sand is spread over it, layer by layer, until everything is completely covered. The sand is enriched with resin. In combination with air, it hardens quickly, but it is still elastic enough to assume the same shape as the wooden model. The spreading and the hardening processes take many hours. At the end of the day, the mould is finally ready for the casting.

The concept was developed by Jacob Mayer 150 years ago. But initially he didn't benefit at all from it. In spring 1849, the Prussian government got in touch , not with Jacob Mayer in Bochum, however, but with Alfred Krupp in Essen. "Weapons have to be forged, not cast." Krupp had convinced the Prussian military with his motto. Only a few weeks later, in June 1849, the first shot was fired from a Krupp cannon.

Mayer had lost the duel with his rival. [speaking German] [interpreter] The strongest men are those who, after a setback, don't throw in the towel but say: "I might be down right now but things aren't over. I'll be back." They draw new strength from a defeat. [narrator] Jacob Mayer got over his defeat and put a ring on his beloved's finger.

Agnes Siebert from Bonn was his great love. She didn't bear him any children. What she did give him, though, were love and strength and, it is said, good advice. She advised him to raise capital, to find investors with money and commercial skill, something Mayer himself lacked. And Mayer listened to his Agnes.

He turned his firm into a joint-stock company and thus acquired fresh capital. The way was at last open for Mayer to establish the Bochumer Verein. But shareholders also want to see profit. So the company had to do good business. [interpreter] Mayer didn't exactly have the best reputation, and the only thing that could save him was delivering. Brandenburg, I've got something new.

[narrator] He was now thinking on a much bigger scale. But those are church bells. Good idea, right? [interpreter] He hadn't suddenly become religious. He just wanted to show what he could do. And a bell is even harder to cast than a cannon, because it's much bigger.

Johann, you won't believe it. He now wants to cast church bells. But church bells have to ring. And sound good. [Mayer] You're right. Herr Mayer, with cannon there's at least a certain tolerance. But bells have to be perfect, to draw folk to church, not scare them off.

But, Brandenburg, our bells will be great. But bells are far too heavy to make with our equipment. What do you mean? We'll need to experiment. And that costs money. And we need steel, lots of steel. In our situation we just can't afford it.

Let that be my problem, right? [interpreter] They say: "no risk, no fun." An entrepreneur who shuns risk will never be successful. [narrator] Krupp was surprised by the news. This irritating rival had to be shaken off, no matter how. Anybody can make iron. That's easy. But steel? No, not steel.

Mayer's a fraud, I'm telling you. I tried it myself in numerous tests. It just can't be done. Gentlemen, I'm warning you: if you invest your hard-earned money in Mayer's business, you might as well throw it out of the window. [interpreter] I think that Krupp went slightly over the top.

He wasn't playing fair. [narrator] At first, Mayer and his investors took Krupp's diatribes with a pinch of salt. Balderdash. When we are finished, gentlemen, it'll be Krupp who will be flying out of the window. [interpreter] That really was laying down a challenge.

A real challenge. [speaking German] [speaking German] [interpreter] You have to be a bit crazy as a great inventor, otherwise you won't succeed. [narrator] In those days, casting molten steel was no job for softies. The fiery melt had to be transported by hand in countless ladles which were filled to the brim. [interpreter] The melt had a temperature of about 1,600 degrees. It was like working in an oven: incredibly hot.

The men had to walk evenly to avoid anything spilling out. As far as possible they had to keep their hips at the same height and, like a ballet dancer, move with a gentle rolling gait. If any of the molten steel spilled out, it immediately set fire to everything. Feet got burnt: terrible things like that. They just hadn't to happen.

[steel hissing] [steel gurgling] [Wengenroth speaking German] [interpreter] And there had to be no joint between the steel from one crucible and the next. The crucibles had to be emptied in such a way that a continuous stream of steel flowed into the mould. [narrator] Mayer's plan to cast large bells in one pass without machines would only work if every step was perfect. Today, heavy equipment is essential. Heavy-duty trucks and cranes transport the casting ladles to the mould. [beeping] Workers carrying crucibles are a thing of the past.

Casting ladles today are several metres high and can hold nearly 150 tons of molten steel. But the temperature of the melt hasn't changed since Mayer's invention. It is still 1,600 degrees. When the temperature is just short of 1,600 degrees, the steel can be poured into the prepared mould. [bell clanging] The focus is now on the moulders. Casting steel is teamwork.

Each man knows that the slightest mistake can cost the company hundreds of thousands. [interpreter] We don't make Christmas tree decorations here, here we cast steel. [narrator] And that is a highly complex operation calling for precise timing.

The phase between transporting the melt and the actual cast is particularly tricky. Along the way the steel cools more and more. The temperature drops by only one degree a minute, but if the melt is too cold, it is too viscous to cast. [speaking German] [interpreter] Every step has to be just right. And three minutes doesn't give you much time to correct something. If something happens, then it happens. As a rule you can't correct it.

[sparks zapping] [narrator] The transporter has arrived at the right time. The mould is already in position. The steel has the right temperature.

The moulders get to work. The ladle is tapped. [steel hissing] With a deafening sound, the molten steel flows into the giant mould for the turbine housing. It's a spectacle every time.

[Ertl through interpreter] Steel has captured my heart. When the melt flows out and the moulds fills up, it's a fascinating sight. [narrator] It takes just three minutes to cast 150 tons of steel. Fed in through an inflow pipe, the molten steel makes its way through all the windings and fills the hollow core smoothly and completely. As soon as the steel is in the mould, gases begin to escape. The flames from them flicker on the surface for days until the mass has completely cooled down.

If the gases couldn't escape, the mould could crack and the turbine housing would be ruined. [worker shouts] The men still have their hands full even after casting. The moulders pile on lots of sand to prevent the steel at the openings at the top cooling faster than at the bottom of the mould. The covering prevents the heat escaping too quickly at the top and guarantees that the mass cools down evenly. All that is left in the ladle is slag: waste material, some of which is processed and recycled. For now there's nothing more for the moulders to do, except wait.

[Ertl speaking German] [interpreter] It's this complexity, this challenge, that is the essence of casting steel. And if something has been forgotten, it can, of course, mean that in the end, the entire casting has to be scrapped. [narrator] But the steelworkers won't know that for a week.

That's how long it takes for the turbine housing to harden sufficiently. Then the next phase begins. And it shows whether all the effort has been worthwhile.

The moment of truth comes when the crane lifts the workpiece out of its bed of sand. One hundred and 50 tons of steel, cast in one piece. When it's finished, the huge housing will be delivered to a power company. The manufacturer guarantees that the housing will have a service life of at least 30 years.

But the turbine housing is still extremely fragile and nowhere near ready for delivery. It has to go through a lengthy process before it can be dispatched to the power station. That involves intensive post-casting treatment. At the moment, the housing is like a rough diamond. It still lacks the finishing touches. It has to be cleaned and checked for cracks.

And protruding edges have to be removed with a welding torch. The final stage involves heat treatment. The procedure in the heat chamber is essential. It determines the properties of the metal.

After all, not all steel is the same. Depending on the use, there are more than 2,000 different types. The housing has to be both stable and flexible, because later on in the power station, it will be exposed to the primal forces of a rotating gas turbine. The housing cools down for the last time and is subjected to a final check. The result of months of work is excellent.

Casting the steel colossus has been a total success. Today, high-tech machines, computers, and many years of experience enable steel products of virtually every shape and size to be cast. With the methods available in the 19th century, however, that was inconceivable, and especially where the production of a church bell was concerned. [Jungreithmeier through interpreter] Today they have models, they have simulations. They can make predictions.

But 150 years ago, manufacturers didn't have the possibilities that are available today. They had to make steel with the simplest of means. [narrator] Where casting molten steel in a mould was concerned, Jacob Mayer and his people were pioneers. [interpreter] It's like a grand ballet.

First, lots of practice is required until the real thing is ready to be tackled. When the big moment finally arrives, like a ballet master, the casting foreman directs his people, making sure that everything flows smoothly. Faster! Everything fine here, you two? -[orchestra playing waltz] -[steam hissing] [narrator] Jacob Mayer, the inventor from Bochum, presented the product of his casting skills at the biggest trade exhibition of the day: the 1855 World's Fair in Paris.

His bell made from cast steel was the sensation. [man] Incredible. Unbelievable. Cast in one piece, you say? That's amazing, Herr Mayer. Thank you so much, sir. Many thanks. I'm honoured.

[narrator] The only one not impressed was Alfred Krupp. Normally, he was the one in the limelight. [Oehler through interpreter] Naturally the great Krupp was also represented in Paris. When I think of what happened there, I can hardly believe it. Gentlemen, I beg of you. This is obviously poor-quality pig iron. And even a child can cast pig iron.

My dear Herr Krupp, how do you come to this, how should I say, wicked imputation? It's perfectly simple. Cast steel can... cannot be cast in such moulds. That's impossible, quite impossible. Perhaps you can't do it, Herr Krupp.

He who claims he can cast steel in moulds is a charlatan of the worst kind. [interpreter] This newcomer, Mayer, claimed he could do something Krupp, who'd been in the business much longer, couldn't do. A bigmouth like that, Krupp must have thought, had to be stopped. So you're calling me a charlatan? Yes: charlatan, impostor, swindler! Call it what you will. Then I'll prove to you that I'm no charlatan, imposter, or swindler.

[interpreter] This all happened in the public eye at the World Exhibition in Paris. Mayer then said he was prepared to sacrifice a bell. "Choose one," he told Krupp.

"I'll shatter it and, with the world looking on, I'll prove to you with a forged sample that it really is steel." [narrator] The steelworks in Bochum felt that the way Jacob Mayer proved his ability was even worth making a film about. [steel clanging] If the bell really was made of steel, as Mayer claimed, he would be able to melt down the material and process it again. This is not possible with pig iron.

After the world exhibition, the inventor returned to his works in Bochum. No one there knew that the entrepreneur had been denigrated by his great rival, or that Krupp had come off second best. In the name of the French emperor, he had been awarded a medal of honour for inventing steel casting. Jacob Mayer's dreams were fulfilled.

We have done it! We have done it, men! [interpreter] Mayer had arrived. [Mayer] Without your help... [narrator] Because only the best inventions received an award.

Now we've got a name! Now we're in business. All the effort has paid off at last for all of us. Well done, men! [cheering] [narrator] But in Essen, the mood was sombre for weeks on end. [hammer pounding] With the world looking on, the great Alfred Krupp had been humbled. What's more, he had left Paris empty-handed.

That was annoying for the steel magnate, but no reason to throw in the towel. [pounding continues] [speaking German] [interpreter] It was certainly embarrassing for Krupp, but Krupp was still the biggest and most successful steelworks in Germany. So you cope with something like that, just as a modern-day car firm somehow copes with having to recall a million models. It's annoying, a real setback. But you handle it and you bounce back. [narrator] Shortly afterwards, Krupp did the deal of his life.

He cast seamless steel wheels for the state railway company. Alfred was so proud of his invention that he made three double steel rings placed on top of each other the concern's logo. [interpreter] Even today the firm is still called "Fried. Krupp" after its founder. But when they think of Krupp, everyone thinks of Alfred. [narrator] In 1867, Alfred copied Mayer's steel castings. From the Villa Hügel, Krupp steered his company's rise, even in wartime.

His name was legend. Alfred Krupp was called "the Cannon King." But his successors were on an equal par. When the National Socialists came to power, at first, the company kept a respectable distance from Adolf Hitler.

But the family still didn't say no to doing business with the Nazis. The millions to be earned from rearmament deals were just too enticing. But Mayer's steelworks, the Bochumer Verein, also became heavily involved.

Back then, a lot of money was made in the Ruhr District. Krupp started out making coins and cutlery. In the meantime, household goods made of stainless steel have become part of the past. After merging with Thyssen, Krupp became an ultra-modern technology concern with efficient development departments, a global player with steel connections world-wide.

Cast steel, the invention of the century by Krupp's rival, Jacob Mayer, no longer plays a major role in Essen. Jacob Mayer passed away long before his rival. But the brilliant inventor's firm existed for another hundred years. In one of the ironies of history, in 1967, the Bochumer Verein was bought up by the Krupp family. Today the shop floor is an industrial ruin.

Mayer's invention lives on elsewhere. Today casting steel is something engaged in by just a few specialists, like Voestalpine in Linz in Austria. [sparks zapping] The basic concept of casting steel in moulds has remained unchanged, even 150 years on. What form of modern technology could hope to emulate that? And the triumphal advance of steel still continues.

A metal with unique properties, steel occupies a leading position in the world economy. Steel is simply crucial. The housing from Linz is destined for a gas turbine which will generate electricity for thousands of German households, for many years and under extreme pressure. This would not have been possible without the achievements of two pioneers in the steel war on the Ruhr.

2022-02-12 14:39

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