Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(3,241 words)

1. Technology

1.1. Extraction

Steel is a metal alloy consisting mostly (95%) of iron. Its carbon content varies between 0.01% and 2.06%. The higher this value, the harder – but more brittle – the steel. Steel can be treated with heat (annealing, tempering, etc.), alloyed (with other metals or non-metallic substances), or shaped (forging, drawing, rolling).

The production of specially hardened iron dates back to the 1st century bce. Iron Age smelting techniques in domed kilns 1.5-2 m tall produced sponge iron (direct-reduce…

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Bingener, Andreas and Reith, Reinhold, “Steel”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 02 October 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_028143>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208

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