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British Industrial History

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Benjamin Talbot

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Benjamin Talbot (1864-1947)

Developer of the 'Talbot process' or 'Continuous Open Hearth Process'.

1947 Obituary [1]

For more than half a century Mr. Benjamin Talbot was closely connected with all aspects of iron and steel manufacture and his death, which occurred at Northallerton on December 16th, will be lamented by many friends and associates in the iron and steel industry of this and several other countries.

He was the chairman and managing director of the South Durham Steel and Iron Company Ltd., and of Cargo Fleet Iron Company, Ltd., and was the inventor of the continuous steelmaking process which bears his name, as well as of a mechanical gas producer, and of the Talbot hydrocarbon lining for the prevention of corrosion in cast iron and steel pipes.

Benjamin Talbot was born in 1864, and his early education was received at Fulneck School, near Leeds. His apprenticeship in steelmaking was served at the Ebbw Vale works and in 1890 he went to the United States of America to take up an appointment as superintendent of the Southern Iron and Steel Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Three years later Talbot became steelworks superintendent at the Pencoyd Steelworks, Pennsylvania, where he began the manufacture of basic open-hearth steel, and in 1899 he instituted the continuous steelmaking process mentioned above. His first paper on that subject was presented to the Iron and Steel Institute in 1900.

Mr. Talbot returned to this country in that year, and since then was actively engaged in the affairs of the two companies, of which he was managing director, and also took an interest in several other important iron and steel and colliery undertakings on the North-East Coast.

Mr. Talbot was elected a Member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1900, and served with distinction a term of office as President in 1928. He was also President, in the same year, of the National Federation of Iron and Steel Manufacturers. In recognition of his· inventions and researches in steelmaking, the Bessemer Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute was awarded to him in 1908 and he was also the recipient of the Elliott Gresson Gold Medal and the John Scott Medal of the Franklin Institute.

During the first world war, Mr. Talbot rendered valuable assistance as an unofficial adviser to the Ministry of Munitions, and in the years between the two wars his counsel was frequently sought by Government departments and other official organisations on matters relating to the British iron and steel industry which he served so well during his long and active life.

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