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Soft Steel, Wheeling, WV 1886

- from The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, September 14, 1886

Soft Steel


Her Soft Steel a Promising Material for Carriage Work

Now that Wheeling is the leading soft-steel manufacturing point in this country, the following from a recent issue of the CARRIAGE MONTHLY is of interest here:

We were present a few days since at the testing of number of celebrated brands of this new mild steel, which sooner or later, will usurp the place of iron. Some were of foreign manufacture and others domestic, among which was a "silver steel" by the Catasauqua Manufacturing Company and mild steel by the Ath Steel Works, Newark, N.J. There was also a number of other very excellent brands. We took a sample bar and forged from the same a set of dash heels for a buggy, and when cold subjected them to all sorts of strain without fracture. We heated the same to about 700 degrees, and cooled in cold water, and again put the forgings through another set of tests, and still no fracture. Welds were made and swaged and cooled off while at 500 degrees, and could not be broken any more than the same made of Norway. It was as easy to weld without flux as any ordinary iron. There was a density or hardness about it while forging it that follow in the making of Lor Moor iron. When cold it is much stiffer than Norway, but will bend under a heavy pressure without breaking.

We next had a piece lathed and casehardened with bone dust, which was afterward put through the buffing process, with a view to show up seams, dirt or looseness. The result was, not a blemish could be detected. After nicking with a cold chisel we tried its breaking qualities over the sharp corner of the anvil, and after more than a dozen vigorous blows with a 14-pound hammer failed to break the specimen. With all these facts before us, we come to the conclusion that at last the carriage builder has reached a proper metal for the production of his wares, provided the manufacturers will study their own interests by putting the same on the market in merchantable sizes. For axles, the spindles of which may be tempered, and for axle boxes, we do not know of a better metal. For all work which is subject to all sorts of adverse strains it has no superior, if it has an honest equal, which we doubt. It would be impossible to find a better article for rocker plates. For polished work, polecrabs, lead bar fixtures, cock-eyes, ferrules, door-handles, or any other furniture in the carriage line, it has no superior. The fact of the matter is, it is just what we want, and we want it right away - that is, if we can get it, and there is no plausible reason why we should not.

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