Talk:William Kelly (inventor)

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Much of what's here is incorrect. See: "The "Kelly" Converter," Robert B. Gordon, Technology and Culture, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Oct., 1992), pp. 769-779

More specifics, please. Much of what is here agrees with reference works such as Britannica and Encyclopedia Americana. What is wrong? Lets get it right. Edison 23:56, 18 March 2007 (UTC)[]
I have added a "Controversy" section with a reference. Biscuittin (talk) 20:58, 7 December 2010 (UTC)[]
Removed the little section which just said "there is controversy." It was referenced to something which did not appear to be a reliable source. Edison (talk) 14:35, 17 January 2012 (UTC)[]

Kelley Process[edit]

Let's get it straight. Kelley invented it. Bessemer, an illiterate English puddler employed by Kelley, stole it, ran back to England and got first patent. Add the line "in dispute" to any reference to Bessemer. Bessemer no more "invented" it than Edison "invented" the fluoroscope. Both just got first patents. REF: "Inventors behind the Inventor". (talk) 14:50, 13 April 2012 (UTC)[]

Bessemer was a businessman and inventor working in England. I have read some accounts with no documentation which claimed that Kelley's process was described to Bessemer by former employees of Kelley, but not that Bessemer actually came to Kentucky and worked for Kelley. Solid sourcing required for such a claim as you make. A mention of some random website or the name of some book is not solid sourcing. One factor supporting Kelley is that he was a trained metallurgist, while Bessemer was uneducated (though hardly illiterate) and then Bessemer suddenly launches into ironmaking from no previous work related to it. Since their patents were pooled, there was not the exhaustive courtroom testimony that helped to sort out other invention priority battles in the 19th century (light bulbs, telephones). Edison (talk) 15:14, 13 April 2012 (UTC)[]

Maybe needs tackling by a historian?[edit]

I have recently been studying the histoy of steelmaking. I came accross this article quite early, and took it at face value (albeit with some suprise that Kelly appears as the 'real' inventor of modern steelmaking).

But now I have progresssed in my studies, I had to come back to this because it seems way off the mark.

Firstly, neither Kelly or Bessemer invented the concept of blowing air through pig iron. The potential was well known, and indeed Bessemer acknowledges the work of James Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam hammer, who was attempting a similar process before either of them. As Bessemer knew Nasmyth it would seem far more likely that his inspiration came from the latter, rather than from 'English workers at Kelly's works' as the article would seem to imply.

Secondly, The Bessemer converter was initially not able to make commercially viable steel, it is not enougth to simply blow air through the molton iron. There seems to be little information about what Kelly actually did with his invention, or what he made, but presumably the fact that his own ironwoks did not start producing steel in the years between his invention and Bessemers would suggest that the Kelly converter also lacked a complete process.

Although Bessemers convertor had problems, Bessemer had a sound reputation as an inventor and developer of many industrial processes and techniques. He convinced many ironworkers to help him experiment with and improve the process. Robert Forset Mushet eventually perfected the technique that led to the succesful deployment of the Bessemer converter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 2 May 2012 (UTC)[]

I've tried to improve this article a bit, but I can't seem to find very many sources dealing with the history of blowing air through iron. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.21:42, 20 November 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by SQMeaner (talkcontribs)

The definitive work on this is by Robert Gordon, a Yale historian and metallurgist, published here: Gordon, Robert B. “The ‘Kelly’ Converter.” Technology and Culture 33, no. 4 (1992): 769–79. doi:10.2307/3106590. He shows that the Kelly converter never worked, and was used to get around Bessemer's patent. Someone should update this article. Lubar (talk) 18:55, 8 May 2016 (UTC)[]


What material was Kelly using as a lining? Was this reactive with the iron, or not? Andy Dingley (talk) 10:01, 17 August 2017 (UTC)[]

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