Samuel T. Wellman

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Samuel T. Wellman
Samuel T Wellman.jpg
Industrial entrepreneur
Born(1847-02-05)February 5, 1847
DiedJuly 11, 1919(1919-07-11) (aged 72)

Samuel Thomas Wellman, (February 5, 1847 July 11, 1919) was an American steel industry pioneer, industrialist, and prolific inventor. Charles M. Schwab of Bethlehem Steel described Samuel T. Wellman as "the man who did more than any other living person in the development of steel". [1] Wellman was a close friend of electrical pioneer George Westinghouse, [2] and he was also president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers from 1901 to 1902. [3]


Early life

Born in Wareham, Massachusetts in 1847, Wellman was the son of a Nashua Iron Company superintendent. [4] Wellman received his formal engineering training from Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont, and served as a corporal with the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery Regiment during the Civil War. Shortly after the war, Wellman married Julia A. Ballard, with whom he had five children. [1]

Career and influence on the steel industry

Wellman began his career working at the Nashua Iron Company. He was encouraged by his father to build a regenerative gas furnace for the company. Wellman did this, impressing Carl Wilhelm Siemens, who immediately hired him to establish the first crucible-steel furnace in America. [1] Wellman went on to improve upon the open-hearth process of steel rail production, which in turn had improved upon the Bessemer process. [5] In 1869, Wellman built the first commercially successful open-hearth furnace in America at the Bay State Iron Works in South Boston. [6]

Hulett Electric Ore Unloader, Toledo, Ohio, 1919 Hulett Electric Ore Unloader, Toledo, Ohio - DPLA - 80c790080f86ceda34d1523b59c0597e (page 1).jpg
Hulett Electric Ore Unloader, Toledo, Ohio, 1919

Furnaces were not Wellman's only contribution to the steel industry. He was also instrumental in the development of the Hulett unloader, [7] which allowed the unloading of taconite from the iron ore boats of the Great Lakes, particularly on Lake Erie. In addition to improvements on the Hulett unloader, other important inventions include an open hearth charging machine and a hydraulic crane. Following an unsuccessful venture with his half-brother, Wellman later founded the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Engineering Company in Cleveland, Ohio, [8] which continues under a different name to this day. [1]

Partial list of inventions

Selected publications

Related Research Articles

Bessemer process Steel production method

The Bessemer process was the first inexpensive industrial process for the mass production of steel from molten pig iron before the development of the open hearth furnace. The key principle is removal of impurities from the iron by oxidation with air being blown through the molten iron. The oxidation also raises the temperature of the iron mass and keeps it molten.

Wrought iron Iron alloy with a very low carbon content

Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content in contrast to that of cast iron. It is a semi-fused mass of iron with fibrous slag inclusions, which gives it a "grain" resembling wood that is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion resistant, and easily welded.


The Hulett was an ore unloader that was widely used on the Great Lakes of North America. It was unsuited to tidewater ports because it could not adjust for rising and falling tides, although one was used in New York City.

Open hearth furnace A type of industrial furnace for steelmaking

An open-hearth furnace or open hearth furnace is any of several kinds of industrial furnace in which excess carbon and other impurities are burnt out of pig iron to produce steel. Because steel is difficult to manufacture owing to its high melting point, normal fuels and furnaces were insufficient for mass production of steel, and the open-hearth type of furnace was one of several technologies developed in the nineteenth century to overcome this difficulty. Compared with the Bessemer process, which it displaced, its main advantages were that it did not expose the steel to excessive nitrogen, was easier to control, and permitted the melting and refining of large amounts of scrap iron and steel.

Anthracite iron Substance created by the smelting together of anthracite coal and iron ore

Anthracite iron or Anthracite 'Pig Iron' is the substance created by the smelting together of anthracite coal and iron ore, that is using Anthracite coal instead of charcoal to smelt iron ores — and was an important historic advance in the late-1830s enabling great acceleration the industrial revolution in Europe and North America.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1920). Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. New York: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. pp.  1151–1154. ISBN   0-87263-105-2.
  2. Wohleber, Curt (Winter 1997). ""St. George" Westinghouse". American Heritage. 12 (3). Retrieved 2007-01-25.
  3. Haywood, Wilfred. "1903 ASME Council Meeting Photo Riddle". The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Retrieved 2007-01-25.
  4. Wellman, Joshua Wyman Descendants of Thomas Wellman (1918) Arthur Holbrook Wellman, Boston pp.69-72&455
  5. Association of American Railroads (1942). Quiz on railroads and railroading : 400 questions, 400 answers. Washington, DC: Association of American Railroads.
  6. Butler Jr., Joseph G. (1918). Fifty Years of Iron and Steel. Cleveland, OH: The Penton Press. pp. 70–72.
  7. Snow, Richard F. (Fall 1987). "Lifting Iron". American Heritage. 3 (2). Retrieved 2007-01-26.
  8. Lamoreaux, Naomi R.; et al. (2004). "Financing invention during the second industrial revolution: Cleveland, Ohio 1870-1920" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-26.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

Further reading