This 10-ton Bessemer Converter was originally installed at the A. M. Byers Company, Ambridge, Pennsylvania. It was built by the Pennsylvania Engineering Corporation at its New Castle, Pennsylvania, plant in 1930, and was one of the last commercially operated bessemers in the United States. Acknowledgments
In the Bessemer process, molten blast furnace iron is converted to steel by burning out carbon and other impurities with a blast of air forced through the molten bath by tuyeres.
The Bessemer and similar processes were developed during the 1840 - 1860 but not commercially utilized until 1864 with the installation of the first successful plant at Wyandotte, Michigan. This ushered in the "Age of Steel" and vessels of this type became the workhorse of the American steelmaking industry as well as abroad. By 1883, close to 1.5 million tons of steel were processed in bessemers, which accounted for over 88% of the United States total production. Bessemer steel production peak in 1906 at over 12 million tons accounted for 52% of United States total production, with about 5 million tons being produced in Pennsylvania, mostly in the Pittsburgh area. With the advent the other steel making processes, bessemer steel production in the United States became negligible by the late 1960's.
This restoration was initiated by the Association of Iron and Steel Engineers, William C. Friesel, Managing Director. The Association funded the dismantling, transport and re-erection of the bessemer on this site. Gerald E. Peckich and Arthur Silverman donated the vessel. PECOR Division, Pennsylvania Engineering Corporation, fabricators of the original vessel, redesigned installed critically missing parts.
In the Bessemer process, air at 20 to 35 pounds per square inch pressure enters at the blast pipe (1), passes through the hollow trunnion (2), then down to the wind box (3), which distributes it to the Tuyere (4), passes through the molten iron charge and after combining with the carbon, silicon and manganese is discharged from the nose of the vessel (5). A complete blow could be accomplished and from 8 to 12 minutes. After bowling, the vessel is tilted by the turning gear (6), and the steel is poured into a ladle for teeming into ingots.