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The History of Alloyed Stainless Steels

by Jul 7, 2018News

alloyed-stainless-steelThese days, alloyed stainless steels are used for a range of different applications. However, things were not always this way. In fact, it was only about 200 years ago that the technology used to manufacture alloyed stainless steels was first conceived.

From that point, alloyed stainless steels have seen a progression in technology which has made them vital in the manufacturing of products of all kinds. Wondering what this progression entailed? Interested in the history of alloyed stainless steels? You’re in the right place!

19th Century

The technological concepts which were used to develop the first alloyed stainless steels were conceived in the early 19th century.

In the year of 1821, a French scientist by the name of Pierre Berthier discovered that an alloy of iron and chromium was resistant to a range of different acids. His discovery would kick-start the quest to create an alloy which was equal parts strong, affordable, and anti-corrosive.

Scientists experimented with different alloys, primarily utilizing the elements of chromium, carbon, and tungsten. Eventually, in 1875, another French scientist by the name of Brustlein discovered that, in order for stainless steel to be feasible, it would require a low level of carbon.

While scientists worked to reduce the level of carbon in different alloys, they didn’t start to see much real success until the 20th century.

20th Century

It was very early in the 20th century (1904, to be exact) that the chemical compositions for many of today’s stainless steels were discovered. In research published by Leon Guillet, the compositions of many 400-series stainless steels were revealed. Just a few years later, in 1906, Guillet would also reveal the chemical compositions of many 300-series stainless steels.

Once these compositions were published, fellow scientists set out to tweak them, attempting to determine what elements were responsible for different characteristics of the alloys.

Not only was it found that low amounts of chromium allow for greater oxygen-related corrosion resistance, it was also found that low amounts of carbon and molybdenum allow for greater chloride-based corrosion resistance.

The person who is often credited as having created the first stainless steel is Englishman Harry Brearly. His stainless steel was an alloy of chromium and iron, containing a 12.8% chromium content.

Once Brearly had created his steel, the floodgates were open. Inventors and scientists started experimenting with alloys of all kinds, using them to manufacture a range of goods, from scalpels, to silverware, to airplanes, to trains, to cars, to weaponry, and more.

As the century progressed, stainless steel saw uses in more and more applications. Different alloys were created, allowing manufacturers to meet a variety of different product needs without breaking the bank.


Today, alloyed stainless steels are more sophisticated than ever. While the tried and true alloys still see uses in various applications, more modern alloys are being used to accommodate a range of applications which once couldn’t be accommodated.

Technologically-impressive alloys such as duplex stainless steel, also known as S31803 or 2205, are equal parts strong and anti-corrosive; and all at a reasonable price, to boot.

Wondering where you can spot stainless steel today? Everywhere! Cars, monuments, cutlery, watches, and oil pipes are just a few of the many products which consist of stainless steel.

Looking to Buy Alloyed Stainless Steels?

Are you looking to buy specialty alloyed stainless steels? If so, look no further! Great Plains Stainless is one of world’s premier stainless steel providers.

We sell stainless steel products of all kinds, from pipes, to bars, to fittings, and more. Regardless of the type of stainless steel you’re looking for, we can, and will accommodate you.

Contact us today for a free estimate!