My 2017 A to Z Challenge theme is “The History of Kanata”, the parallel world that is the setting for “Eagle Passage”, my alternative history novel that all began when I wondered, “What would have happened if Leif Eriksson had settled Vinland permanently in 1000 AD? For further details and links to my other A to Z posts – and hints at the ones to come visit “Kanata – A to Z Challenge 2017”.
U is for Uppsala: 19 March 1756, Uppsala, Sweden – Renowned Swedish mathematician and scientist, Samuel Klingenstierna, invites German-born engineer and entrepreneur, Carl Wilhelm Siemens, from his adopted home in northern Albion to Uppsala University. His contacts at St Andrews University in Scotland say that Siemens has been experimenting on improving the blister and cast steel production.
Setting up a site on the edge of eastern banks of the River Fyris, with access to Uppsala’s trade centre, Klingenstierna ensures ready access by water to Sweden’s phosphorus-free ore. At the new works, Siemens succeeds in manufacturing quality durable steel efficiently and sustainably using a regenerative furnace, or open hearth process.
Siemens calculates that the furnace recovers enough heat to save 70–80% of the fuel. Applying the knowledge that he gained as a student at St Andrews, where energy and fuel saving was taught as a primary endeavour, he has discarded the older notions of heat as a substance and accepted it as a form of energy. The two scientists combine forces to revolutionise and advance the production of steel and the efficient use of steam engines, essential to Nordic trade and industrialisation
In our timeline: One of the earliest forms of steel, blister steel, began production in Germany and England in the 17th century and then improved as cast-steel, but the cost ensured that was only ever used in speciality applications. The first major breakthrough was in 1856 when Henry Bessemer came up with a more effective way to introduce oxygen into molten iron in order to reduce the carbon content – the Bessemer Process. In the 1860s, German engineer Carl Wilhelm Siemens further enhanced steel production through his creation of the regenerative furnace or open-hearth process, which largely replaced the Bessemer Process.
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