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Factories and Industry (page 4)

2° nickel and iron alloys, has various titres, hammered with the pounder, after refining of the aforesaid cast iron of ferronickel in the Comtois firebox, under my care and my direction in the factories of MM Reverchon and Saglio, Audincourt (Doubs) in May 1878 3° a block of 500 kilos approximately of nickel and iron, obtained on the plate of the Siemens furnace which I had mounted in Septèmes for the refining of the ferronickel iron and cast iron; the block had loosed a part of its carbon, silicon and of part of its iron.

Although these products had been noticed enough by the jury to be worth us a gold medal in the exhibition; although our ferronickel and steel nickel were already related to our commercial leaflets; although we had made various attempts towards the metallurgists, the applications had come only slowly. Moreover, despite all my assertions the doubt existed and, at the time when I claimed the advantages of nickel in the steel, a man whose opinion made rightly a great authority, the famous chemist Boussingault wrote that there would be no interest to link nickel with the steel… My personal tests showed me however the error of Boussingault and when, discouraged, extremely tired, in 1881, I left the Company Le Nickel, leaving with the registered office a series of ferronickel moldings, rolled and stamped bars, as well as the indicative notes of the followed processes, the question of iron with nickel was elucidated for me and undoubtedly for those of my associates who had seen certain objects I had molded and hammered.

As from that moment, my patents no more belonging to me, I could' not obviously use them for my own account while, on the other hand, the Company Le Nickel, which was owner, let them sleep. As for the metallurgists whom I advised from then to manufacture nickel steels, according to my old processes, I did not hide them that it was initially necessary to reach an agreement with the Company Le Nickel, owner of this patent; it was thus a vicious circle. At last, in these last years, certain steel-works took again the question for their own account and made triumph my old statements. One can add, however, that if the industry of iron had seized earlier nickel as alloy, the mines of New Caledonia, whatever rich they be, had not been enough to supply the market; it was necessary to leave to them time to develop their tools, to organize themselves; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to be pleased that the discovery and the development of Sudbury's deposits line up with the practical application on a large scale of nickel steels.

In the United States, I had the honor to expose, last September, my 1876 processes to the Carnegie firm, Phepps and Co of Pittsburgh; these MM. whose factories are colossal since only one of them, Bessemer station, annually produce 400 000 tons of rails, made, little time after, in their steel-works of Homestead at Pittsburg a test of nickel steel, on which Mr. W L Abbott addressed a report to the Minister for the Navy. It was the first test of manufacture of steel nickel made in the United States and it was a perfect success. They carried it out in a Bessemer converter on five tons of steel; part of the ingots was rolled out in sheets 0,022 m thickness, and they cut up various bars as a test... The proportion of nickel in steel was 3,16 %. These tests were carried on since and the Carnegie firm has just obtained the order of 6000 tons armour-plates or nickel of which they intend to begin the delivery before next June 1. They will use a special rolling mill of an enormous weight and they do not wait any more, to go, until the delivery of powerful cranes to handle the plates and of a hydraulic press to give to the plates their final form. The company of Bethlehem that also is preparing to make the plates with nickel will be ready only later needing times to finish their 125 tons drop-hammer.

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