July Books 2) Manufacture and Uses of Alloy Steels, by Henry D. Hibbard

This short book was published in 1919 but I think written some years earlier (the flyleaf states that it was originally issued as a bulletin of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and the statistics and bibliographies have a 1913 end date) summarises the state of the art of American steel-making – none of the theoretical background which I studied in the Part Ia Crystalline Materials module of the Tripos, just a set of chapters detailing what happens if you add more, or less, chromium or manganese or nickel or vanadium to the mix and what it is then useful for (mostly either automobile manufacture or the arms industry). It is not my usual reading, but it did give me a slightly better insight into Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged which of course features a magic new steel. Unfortunately the book must have been finished just precisely at the point that stainless steel was making its appearance, and so misses the major development in the industry of the start of last century – there are only three pages on chromium steel, compared to eighteen on manganese steel. The author also had a family interest in manganese steel, in that he and its inventor, Sir Robert Hadfield, had both married daughters of a Pittsburgh steel man, Samuel Wickersham, and indeed I happen to know that Hibbard’s own daughter was brought up by the Hadfields to an extent; and I know this because she was my grandmother, which explains my own family interest in reading the book.

One thought on “July Books 2) Manufacture and Uses of Alloy Steels, by Henry D. Hibbard

  1. I wish he wasn’t, to be honest. Thought Dark Eden would have been a lot strong on its own.

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