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Old July 12, 2017, 01:32 PM   #26
hdwhit
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Quote:
Austin 1776 wrote:
...if I can't sell the brass cases to reloaders, as I do with other ammo, that may make it not worth it to me.
This history lesson (and is disagreements it provoked) aside, you are correct that if you are looking to sell once-fired cases to reloaders as a way to help defray the cost of shooting, then you will need to buy boxer primed brass cases. Even if issues with availability of Berdan primers were worked out, few reloaders want to get involved with the Berdan system and that limits your market.

If you don't reload, you will probably find that shooting steel case or berdan-primed imported ammunition is going to be cheaper.

If you do go with Boxer-primed brass cases to sell, keep in mind when setting your price that you have a premium product. When someone buys once-fired cases from an internet seller, what they are really getting is brass that has been previously fired. It may have been fired a dozen times before. It may have been fired in a machine gun. It may have been fired in a gun with a fluted chamber. The cases you have are truly only once-fired because you bought them new and shot them the one time and the prospective purchaser can see the rifle they came from.
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Old July 12, 2017, 02:57 PM   #27
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Mike, that's what I meant about Gettysburg. Muskets. I think that they had one freeloader for two or three shooters. That's iirc, this whole thing could be off.
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Old July 12, 2017, 03:05 PM   #28
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I would really like to have a few of the single shots, hopefully in modern cartridges, and good condition. Martinii, rolling block,falling block, even trap door. I just like classic single shots. Wouldn't that Browning I saw once have been a prize? I loved that thing.
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Old July 13, 2017, 11:18 AM   #29
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Two disclaimers here,
1, I'm an avid Sharps fan, not the modern knock-offs, but the actual Sharps rifles, so bias is mandatory!
2, I'm military educated, not a history buff.

As for #2, military education of long range shooting will teach you a lot about failure...

While drawn & pin punched cases were available, even at the time of the civil war, the army chose to reduce costs by using copper cases which had already shown their short comings.
The earliest reference to a roughly 70/30 brass/zinc case reference I've ever seen was the recommendation by Sharps/Berdan, to the Union Department Of War, and it's the earliest reference to 'Cartridge Brass' I've ever seen.

The reference to 'Cartridge Brass' was picked up by brass producers after a patent filing by Berdan and was included in something I read from a brass producer in their literature about cartridge brass, not from the military.

The biggest failure point of copper cases according to the multiple military investigations, including the 'Little Big Horn', was the black powder mixture attacking the copper, corroding & chemically hardening the copper in as little as 1 year of storage,
Resulting in swelling of the cartridge, case separations that rendered the ammo either unchangeable or un-extractable, either way rendering the rifle useless.

It's note worthy the PISTOL rounds purchased by the department of the Army specifically required Berdan's 'Cartridge Brass' alloy (without crediting Berdan, or paying royalties).

Both UMC & Winchester had previous employees working at the department of the army at the time, and those employees went back to work for UMC & Winchester after they worked for the Department Of The Army... And got the UMC/Winchester supply contracts approved.

The copper rifle cartridge supplier was a brother in law to the vice president when the copper case contract was awarded.
That same brother in law to the vice president didn't stand any charges even though Congress found clear evidence of a failed product that got military members killed...
Corruption & Pork isn't new!

Anyway, the point was, Berdan INSISTED on the first (lathe) drawn cases, then pin punched cases (current way of making cases), for his men, to the point of paying for the cases himself from time to time.
Sharps was the first manufacturer to wholly support the 70/30 drawn brass cases finding in testing they out performed everything else available at the time.

Berdan's men were the only military unit during the civil war to reload ammo cases, being issued hand presses, bullet molds, and actual scales for bullets & powder.
I've got one of the Berdan unit scales, but no one will let go of the hand presses, and the bullet molds were common issue.
Units were also issued powder strength testers, something seriously unusual for military units.
One resides at the Cody museum, another at the Army Marksmanship Unit museum.

Sharps/Berdan put the pieces together...
Between steel from the Bessemer process used by Sharps, steam over hydraulic powered pin punches (industral revolution) 70/30 brass alloy formula, mass annealing, mercury fulminate primers, coke carbon instead of charcoal or plain coal in the gunpowder, and a bunch of other details, the first mission specific, hyper accurate (for the time) long range rifles were born...

Shooting an original .45-120 Sharps to this day, I wouldn't want to be down range of it well past 1,000 yards!
Even over 100 years later, who knows how many thousand rounds through it, it will hold MOA groups @800yds with my old, blind butt behind it...
Think what they could have done with reasonable optics on top that 30" barrel!
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Old July 14, 2017, 07:34 AM   #30
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Jeep,

Good run down, but still some issues with the timeline.

The first Bessemer steel in the United States wasn't manufactured until middle 1864, in Michigan. Sharps didn't begin using Bessemer-made steel in its rifles until after the Civil War when it became more readily available.

As I noted, early attempts at drawing usable brass cases in lengths usable for the .50-70 cartridge produced enormous amounts of wastage. As with just about any new process, it has to be developed and refined, and that took a number of years to do.

The Army wasn't, rightly, about to adopt a manufacturing process that produced more unusable cases than usable ones. The Army wasn't interested in developing the process -- they let private industry do that. That wasn't the first time that happened, and it certainly wasn't the last.

I should note that the Army used drawing to manufacture its copper cases. They weren't against Berdan's innovations. They simply wanted a process that would work.

The powder attacking the copper case was a known issue, and workarounds were developed and tried, ranging from using a thin paper insert to applying a lacquer inside the case during manufacture. Ultimately, the use of copper alloy resistant to powder corrosion was used.

Remember, too, that the Army had to develop workarounds for the propensity of brass to corrode in salt environments, leading to the adoption of tinned cases.

I have nearly a dozen copper cased US Army loaded rounds in my personal collection -- .50-70, .45-70, .45 Colt, and .45 S&W -- and all are in sound condition after almost 140 years in contact with the powder inside.

Note, too, that copper alloy cases were the standard for .22 Long Rifle ammunition in the US until Remington developed the first high pressure, high speed rounds in the 1920s/1930s.



"It's note worthy the PISTOL rounds purchased by the department of the Army specifically required Berdan's 'Cartridge Brass' alloy (without crediting Berdan, or paying royalties)."

OK, you're going to have to identify which Civil War era pistol cartridges purchased by the military specified brass, because the military purchased a LOT of copper cased rounds in .22 and .32 for various handguns.

Once again, though, the deep draw process worked just fine with short cartridges like pistol rounds.
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Old July 14, 2017, 08:43 AM   #31
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Quote:
Berdan's men were the only military unit during the civil war to reload ammo cases,
Can you provide a source with some details on this? I was not aware that Sharps made any cartridge rifles until well after the war. The earliest Flayderman shows is the 1866 .50 rimfire and that one invisibly scarce.


Quote:
Shooting an original .45-120 Sharps
I have read a lot of debates as to whether Sharps ever made a rifle originally in .45 x 3 1/4" or if the few seen were rechambered in the waning days of the Sharps Rifle Co. Or do you refer to the .45 X 2 7/8" case, now called .45-110 but available with heavier loads in the day?
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Old July 14, 2017, 09:51 AM   #32
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Good catch, Jim.

I also find it absolutely unlikely that Berdan's Sharpshooters reloaded their own centerfire metallic cartridges because...

There were none in use during the Civil War.

While conceptually the centerfire had been invented at the beginning of the 18th century, it wasn't until Boxer and Berdan perfected their systems AFTER the Civil War.

Berdan receive a patent for his system in 1866, and Boxer received an English patent for his system in, I believe, 1867.


As far as I know, the ONLY reloadable cases in widespread use during the Civil War were for the Lefauchaux-system, and those were pinfires.


After the Civil War many of the Sharps rifles and carbines were converted to .50-70 centerfire.
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Old July 14, 2017, 01:04 PM   #33
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Now I'm wondering when the first thousand yard black powder rifle matches were started. Then, I wonder at what point they stopped being front loader, then breech loaded cartridges, both with loose bullets in the chamber and actual loaded rounds.

I know that there are so many differing explanations for this sort of thing. Now, I'm also wondering whether harry popes progressive rifling has ever been used with smokeless cartridges.
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Old July 14, 2017, 02:44 PM   #34
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Well, the Creedmoor Long Range matches started in 1874.
Rather famous for the Irish team shooting Rigby muzzleloaders and the US team shooting Remington and Sharps breechloaders.
The Rigby was plenty accurate but the breechloaders had the advantage of being easily wiped between shots and easily loaded without the gymnastics of plying the ramrod.

And if you call up Bartlein Barrels, they will cheerfully make you a progressive twist barrel in any caliber you like. http://bartleinbarrels.com/t-style-rifling/
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Old July 14, 2017, 04:23 PM   #35
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Nobody ever did progressive rifling quite like the H&H paradox, going from smoothbore to rifled in a couple inches.
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Old July 14, 2017, 09:44 PM   #36
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'The History Of Steel', last known printing was 1903, explains that 'Bessimer' process actually started around/about 1820-1825 in Pennsylvania, raw air was blown through the liquid iron, reducing carbon and creating steel.

The blower was adapted from an air mover used in coal & iron ore mining, to ventilate mine shafts.

Up to that point, steel was an elusive and almost magical thing, only made in small billets, about the size of a common flower pot (crucible).

A few points here,
1. The industral revolution allowed an air mover/blower sufficient to create 'Air Blast' furnaces,
All over PA, WV, VA you will find town names with 'Forge', 'Furnace', and to a lesser extent, 'Kiln'.

2. These towns all had Forges, IE, they smelted iron ore into pig iron,
OR,
They baked coal into much pure carbon called Coke.

3. With the Advent of the MUCH hotter burning Coke, and a mechanical (steam engine powered) air blower system, pig iron was completely liquified, common air was forced through the liquified and highly refined iron to burn the carbon off, making it steel.

4. The 'Bessimer' process simply used a much higher oxygen content, an oxygen enriched air which made the iron burn off the carbon FASTER, not produced any better results in the resulting steel.

While the 'Forge' would have to remelt the steel three or four times to burn off carbon to an acceptable level, simply because the air would cool/harden the iron, the oxygen enrichment would do the job in a single shot (more efficient, so Bessimer made a fortune)

5. Forge steel was referred to as 'Bessimer' process steel, common useage, not technically correct...

6. Before the air/oxygen injection process, molten iron was poured through open air to allow oxygen to burn off carbon, sometimes as many as 30 remelts and pours to remove excess carbon.
The air injection was a BIG step forward from 30 remelts!

Also, the remelted steel was spotty in consistency, unreliable.
Air injection made reliable steel, and made 'Steel' (gray metal to a machinist), cannons possible,
And made rifles cannons possible for the Civil War...
Today, we call it gray steel, some people call it (incorrectly) high grade cast iron.

7. Joseph Sharps, first cousin to Christian Sharps, was one of the leading authorities on high volume steel making, and was a co-founder of a machine tool company in Bridgeport CT, which later became the Bridgeport machine tool company.
While not credited, Joseph Sharps refined the first practical breech loading cannon, and invented the first identifiable multi-angle head milling machine.

8. 'Drawing' is a forming process by which a metal disk is formed over a solid mold, or 'Buck'.
The metal is 'Drawn Tight' over the 'Buck'.

When a lathe is involved, it's called 'Spring' to differentiate the two processes, although the spinning metal disk is also drawn tight over a buck, made to take on the shape of the buck.

I don't blame people for confusing the processes, or using common useage, but you guys want to get technical...
I've seen the propaganda from cartridge companies saying cases are currently 'Drawn', but that's just not accurate.

'Drawing' is PULLING the metal into shape, current cases are pressure formed, IE, they are PUSHED into shape, not pulled.
The correct term is pressure die formed, (correct) common useage is 'Punched'
This is the tell of the tale, PUNCH PRESSES & DIES are used to form cases, not drawing machines.

Here is some trivia,
The first brass die forming punch press was patented in 1821, used gunpowder to power the ram.
Brass punches MUST increase pressure constantly to get brass to flow, not even the early steam power over hydraulic could continuously increase pressure without hesitation/stalling, forming a defect ring in the brass when it stalls.

I know this first hand since I screwed it up when I started making my own cases...
Ruined the first 7 batches until I got enough hydraulic press & the correct bypass/regulation valve.

The first working hydraulic punch press for brass forming was patented in 1853 by a button manufacturer.

Black powder burns at a consistent rate, making it somewhat effective, constantly increasing pressure to punch brass to the point of being 'Plastic' and steadily increasing pressure.
I would think it dangerous considering the steel pressure vessels of the time...

Punched or drawn, brass cases were around at the time, expensive, but available.
Christan Sharps was an excellent firearms builder, had access to one of the true genius machine tool builders & metallurgists, & Hiram Berdan was a firearms genius in his own right, WAY underestimated and grossly ripped off by EVERYONE in the firearms businesses & by his own government.

Everyone goes on and on about Colt, who invented nothing... Simply combining the already existing revolving cylinder with a ships wheel lock to create his pistol.

Everyone wets themselves when Eugene Stoner is mentioned, but direct gas impengmen was already used, so was rotating bolts, he just used light weight alloys...

John Moses Browning used sewing machine mechanics adapted to make machine guns work, got the pants sued off him several times for stealing patented mechanics.

Sharps & Berdan solved virtually all the problems with long cartridge rifles & ammunition, since most had simply given up thinking the problems were insurmountable or simply lost interest & wanted to stop bleeding money,
And they did it the most simply way possible, in some cases inventing processes to manufacture.

Not Nicola Tesla genius, but pretty darn smart & creative!
Most certainly the biggest influence in long range rifles to date since we are still using the basic concepts to this day...
And like I said, I'm military educated, so the guys that influenced the military I'm going to know the most about having seen their work first hand enshrined.

Now, want to know the real history of the 'Sniper'? I'm sure I can set a bunch of people off in that conversation...
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Old July 15, 2017, 02:29 AM   #37
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It's interesting to see you go off on these technology tangents. I honestly don't know if there are any flaws in it, but I can read enough to know that it's founded in accuracy. Keep it up.

Don't expect me to understand your post on how brass is tempered. I have better things to do with my time. I've been trying to understand string theory and the GUT for forty years and that still consumes several hours of my day.
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Old July 15, 2017, 05:40 AM   #38
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Jeep,

Please read my messages again regarding brass deep draw. I'm not saying it wasn't possible. I'm saying the technology took a fairly long time to work through to where it could be reliably be used to make draws long enough to make rifle brass.

Buttons are not particularly deep draws. Pistol-caliber cartridges are not particularly deep draws compared to the 2+ inch draw needed to form a .45-70 case.

Getting the process worked out to where it would reliably form cases of such length took time and effort. As I said, the military was not interested in converting to a 40 or 50% solution and working out the bugs. They let the private industry do that.
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Old July 15, 2017, 11:33 AM   #39
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And an odd tech fact that has successfully resisted time itself.

Lock washers are a piece of junk and proscribed by SAE in 1969

They still use them.
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Old July 15, 2017, 12:53 PM   #40
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Getting back to the OP . . .

If you have a drill press, you can pretty easily convert the Berdan primed cases to Boxer. You basically drill one hole then use an appropriately sized reamer bit to shave off the rest of the bottom of the Berdan primer.
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Old July 15, 2017, 02:29 PM   #41
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Problem is, the usual Berdan primer for 7.62 NATO is a 5.5mm, .217" in diameter.
Yes, you can peen the edge of the primer pocket to hold a .210" Boxer after you eliminate the anvil, but it seems a little precarious to me. And slow.
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Old July 15, 2017, 08:33 PM   #42
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NASA shot down lock washers in 1967, but still required them until 1986.
Government is particularly schizophrenic.

We were issued optics for many years that were metric, but all the literature and longer ranges were in yards... schizophrenic.

While most all military small arms are gauged in metric, velocity ratings are still mostly displayed as feet per second... schizophrenic.

NASA just lost a Mars probe a few years back because part of the programming was in metric & part in feet/inches...

----

As for brass button manufacturers,
The manufacturers of buttons also made everything under the sun, from bellows for atmospheric pressure gauges (a SUPER long closed case) to extruded tubing, and everything in between, from clock parts to adding machine parts to trinkets.

Buttons paid the bills for the expensive processing machines.
Singer (sewing machines) made aerospace components, up to including the moon missions & nuclear bomb triggers...

Pinball machine companies made land mines & bomb fuses & triggers.

Ely Whitney made cotton 'Gins', separated seeds and seed pods/stems from cotton fibers.
Ely Whitney also made cannon carriages & gimbals, artillery sights, firearms locks, Sam Colt's early revolvers, pad locks & door locks, governors for steam engines, etc.

My little machine shop is mostly supposed to be welding & small batch widget making, while the bread & butter contracts are for the DOD/Navy, a far cry from welding up broken farm equipment and bending tubing, what I intended to do.
I don't like to be micro-managed or have hard deadlines, it interferes with my watching cartoons, jeep crap, reloading crap, going shooting or fishing...

My best seller when I started out and had virtually no equipment, believe this or not, was reproduction padlocks, circa 1870 or so.
Winchester, Wells Fargo, B&O RR, US Marshall, ect. stamped into the brass sides, riveted together.
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Old July 16, 2017, 12:22 AM   #43
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A guy I knew in the mid seventies owned an aluminum foundry in a garage sized space. He melted the stuff maybe by the halt ton and made sand molds. Every day he'd be out busting himself making custom small batch things. He made a better living than I imagined. Crazy hippie.

We had a tiny iron foundry here while the stuff was still made here and profitable. Maybe as big as a big grocery store, iirc. They made manhole covers and some small batch. Ironically, now there is another foundry a few miles away that creates bespoke iron grates, and good Lord, he wouldn't do manhole covers, how in the world could be compete with the overseas competition that sends them over in shipping containers at a few bucks on the pound?

People really put too much thought to transport costs. When an entire container can hold millions of dollars worth of plastic flip flops, it pays. A container full of Nikes pays off.since they are hauling so many lightweight loads of plastic trinkets, they must have many tons of heavyweight scruff to make the enormous ships move efficiently. When an entire container can be filled with $40 silk flower arrangements or $15pieces of trinket jewelry,it certainly doesn't add a lot to costs.

Scotch, Swedish vodka, genuine English beers or wines are shipped in hedge stainless steel vats and bottled with locally made small watch bottles from companies who make jars for salsa.

It's going to come as a real surprise that sometimes, a vat of scotch will arrive, small batches, with the bottles shipped separately. Those designs are trademarks, and the companies won't allow manufacturer on foreign soil. But the most important part is that it would be absolutely, out of your gourd insane to send a million dollars worth of $5,000 a case thirty year old scotch by box!

Almost every band and box label used for premium cigars is made by a company in Holland, that is just about the only company in the world equipped and capable of doing it. Would it be sane to make them locally in Honduras or Nicaragua? Let the Americans design and make the zillions of wine labels, even for costly foreign wines, the lots are too small to make it profitable.

This process uses the biggest possible ships and runs them so tightly that overseas shipping costs don't mean squat. Sometimes the best thing possible is to make things locally in small units and other times the only possible way to buy a flannel shirt is to have little Indonesian girls make them and send them over here to be sold at Wal-Mart.
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Old July 16, 2017, 11:29 PM   #44
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and, we're quite a ways from Boxer vs. Berdan primers now...
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Old July 17, 2017, 03:05 AM   #45
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Old July 17, 2017, 07:45 AM   #46
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"Singer (sewing machines) made aerospace components, up to including the moon missions & nuclear bomb triggers..."

And that has WHAT to do with brass drawing technology in the 1860s and 1870s?

NOT. THING. ONE.

Stick to the time frame in question.

And regarding your comments about "Bessemer Process" steel being made in the United States, as far as I can tell, any such innovation in Pennsylvania involving blowing air through the iron to make steel was of extremely limited impact, had almost 0 market presence, and puddling remained the dominant method of steel manufacture in the United States until the introduction of the ACTUAL Bessemer process AFTER the Civil War.

Air blowing to reduce carbon content in molten iron has been known since the 1100s, possibly even earlier, but the results it produced were never consistent, and the process never provided enough output to make steel useful for anything other than highly specialized items. What Bessemer did was make a process that was highly repeatable and precise.


In any event, I've reached out to a friend for some more information on the supposed use of steel barrels in Sharps Civil War era rifles. He should know, or he should be able to point me to someone who knows, considering that he's the senior curator at the NRA Firearms Museum.
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Old July 17, 2017, 10:58 AM   #47
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I know there were air forced (kilns) to liquify iron in the 1100s,
Ulfberht sword steel & Toledo sword steel prove it.
Simply couldn't have produced the steel from iron ore without the forced air kiln and charcoal or coal for fuel.
The issue was batch size, usually less than a couple pounds.

Very early steel rivets in iron plate boilers (steam power) prove a somewhat reliable process for 'blow pipe' steel as early as the late 1700s.

Producing hundreds of large rivets would have taken a blow pipe process to produce the volume used before modern electrical arc welding was invented and in wide spread use.

Seems more logical that Sharps would have obtained his steel billets from eastern PA, where the richest & largest iron ore strike up to that time had been made and was being production mined,
Along with huge coal strikes & hundreds of smelters processing both ore into pig iron, along with coal being cooked into coke and being used to process that pig iron on an industral scale.

The first Sharps rifles were produced in Philadelphia, PA, and virtually all iron & steel in the US came from PA from after the revloutionary war to ramp up for WWII.

I believe the super high iron content PA iron ore strike is still the richest ever in the US history,
While the great lakes strike is about 12% iron the PA strike ran up to and sometimes over 50% iron content often.
Depleted now, mostly by two world wars, but incredibly rich strike which also produced nickel content that was very high...
There is a reason the US is the only country in the world (at the time) to issue a monetary coin (5 cents) in nickel instead of copper or some other (metal) hard currency.

Not general knowledge, but some educated metal workers know this,
'Black Smith' was a guy that worked with 'Black' metals, IE, Pig Iron, sheet iron and cast iron.
'White Smith' was a guy that worked in nickel, silver, tin, ect.
'Gold Smith' is self explanatory...
There are also 'Copper Smiths', usually worked in copper & copper alloys.

I perfer to take the common sense approach rather than the armchair historan approach...
Super rich iron ore, steady supply of high energy fuel, hundred of iron/steel produces in the area all experimenting with iron to steel processing in reliable industral production quantities...

Blow pipe processing was around, for glass making, for 50-70 years before the blow pipe steel processing started, so no reason at all to say ONE particular guy 'Invented' the process, since it was readily available technology for 50-70 years before one particular guy decided to use as pure of oxygen as he could get at the time instead of compressed atmosphere...

Everyone knows a good idea when they steal it!
The big innovation with Bessimer was the ability to produce higher oxygen content, via a chemical reaction process (which he didn't discover either, just applied to existing processing of iron to steel).
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Old July 17, 2017, 01:52 PM   #48
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You left out a very important Smith. The tinsmith. The guy who kept all of the cookware holding water. It also involved the tinkers, very few of whom were named Smith, who kept iron pots fixed before tin became common. As the world moved from iron, to tin, to steel, the thinkers were left behind, generation after generation. Despite common phraseology, their livelihoods were being eroded, and they actually did give a damn.

In fact, a little known event took place near allenville (later to be known as Allentown.) It's known as "the tinker's rebellion". Over a thousand unemployed tinkers took up their tiny tinker hammers and marched on a large group of steel workers. The steel workers were better armed and the uprising was quickly squelched. The thinkers "picked up their tinkertoys" and went home in disgrace. Many of the surviving tinkers relocated to wheeling, putting their tiny little hands to work at cigar factories, making the famous "wheeling stogies".

You don't have to take my word for it. We have the internet and the truth is out there.
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