Sheffield has a proud history of over 400 years in metallurgical expertise.

Red Hot

Sheffield has always
been a global leader in
steel manufacturing
.

A brief history…

1600s

Cutlery manufacturing begins in Sheffield’s western valleys of the Porter, Rivelin and Loxley.

1700s

Local man Benjamin Huntsman invented the crucible process using coke.

1800s

Sheffield grows rapidly in the manufacture of steel, knives, blades, cutlery and silverware.

1900s

Sheffield is now a world leader in stainless steel manufacture, giving it the name ‘Steel City’.

1913

Harry Brearly began to examine the addition of chromium to steel, and produced the first true stainless steel (a 0.24% C, 12.8% Cr alloy) on 13 August 1913.

More about Harry Brearly >>

1950s

World War 2 has destroyed a large amount of industrial Sheffield.

1980s

Many steel plants close down.

1990s

The Full Monty, a story of unemployed Sheffield steel workers ‘stripping for money’ is filmed in the city’s old steel mills. The low budget film became an instant global blockbuster and put Sheffield back on the map.

2000s

Stainless steel production in Sheffield starts to gather pace.

2020

Steel is coming home.

Harry Brearley
(1871-1948)

Harry Brearley left school at 12 to become a labourer in his father’s steelworks, and later a general assistant in the company’s chemical laboratory. He studied at home and evening classes on steel production and chemistry. In 1908 two of Sheffield’s steel companies set up a joint research laboratory, at which he began to research new steels which would better resist the erosion caused by high temperatures (rather than corrosion). He began to examine the addition of chromium to steel, and produced the first true stainless steel (a 0.24% C, 12.8% Cr alloy) on 13 August 1913.

Getting Hotter

Steel is coming home
to Sheffield
.