16 June, 2012

Harry Brearley

Harry Brearley is usually credited with the invention of  "stainless steel."

Brearley was born in Sheffield, England. His life had humble beginnings as the son of a steel melter. He left school at the age of twelve to enter his first employment as a labourer in one of the city's steelworks, being transferred soon afterwards to the post of general assistant in the company's chemical laboratory.

For several years, in addition to his laboratory work, he studied at home and later in formal evening classes, to specialize in steel production techniques and associated chemical analysis methods.

By his early thirties, Brearley had earned a reputation as an experienced professional and for being very astute in the resolution of practical, industrial, metallurgical problems. It was in 1908, when two of Sheffield's principal steelmaking companies innovatively agreed to jointly finance a common research laboratory (Brown Firth Laboratories) that Harry Brearley was asked to lead the project.

Brearley died in 1948, at Torquay, a coastal resort town in Devon, south west England. He is buried at Sheffield Cathedral.

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