The Birth of Stainless Steel


The Birth of Stainless Steel…

Royal Armouries

On the 2nd October 1913, the eve of the First World War, a routine report was written in the Brown-Firth Research Laboratory in Sheffield, the benefits of which we are still reaping today.

Its author, Harry Brearley, chief metallurgist at Thomas Firth & John Brown Limited, had discovered Stainless Steel. Although his discovery sprang from a need to improve the weapons of war, Brearley had produced a material with properties that continues to provide countless benefits to mankind.

By the time of Brearley’s report, Thomas Firth & John Brown Limited had a well-established reputation in the field of armaments, having been formed through the amalgamation of two companies with a history as suppliers of steel, components and finished products to both governments and private contractors alike.

di-2017-0160 Harry Brearley © Sheffield Libraries and Archives /

Thomas Firth supplied steel to the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield for the manufacture…

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