Harry Brearley-a specialist in steel- began doing research in Brown Firth Research Laboratories in 1908. His aim was to find a way to prevent the corrosion in the rifle barrels, due to the heat produced and gas released during firing.

He was trying varying amounts of Chromium mixed with carbon iron to produce the perfect alloy. On August 13, 1913, he mixed 0.24% of carbon and 12.8% of Chromium with steel to create the new alloy now popularly known as Stainless Steel!

So the 13th of August (19)13, doubly unlucky for every one else, turned out to be his luckiest day!

He tested the new alloy with lemon juice and vinegar, the most commonly used liquids in cooking, but it did not react with them in the same way as plain steel would!

So it was decided that the alloy would be ideal to produce kitchenware and cutlery-which do not get tarnished or corroded! The kitchen- ware revolution had begun!

Even the world of architecture has undergone major changes- thanks to the stainless steel! The Gateway Arch at St. Louis is completely coated with stainless steel. The pinnacle of The Chrysler Building is made with this wonderful alloy.

Unisphere in New York, the largest global structure in the world, is made with stainless steel. Patronas Twin Towers and Jin Mao Building-two of the world’s tallest skyscrapers-have their exterior made of stainless steel.

Art deco sculptures use of stainless steel which can withstand the onslaught of Sun, rain, snow and Time!

Modern light weight furniture are made with stainless steel-especially those used near beach areas, since they are strong, sturdy, weather proof and elegant to look at!

Mechanical and machine parts as well as medical equipments are now made out of stainless steel.

Looking around us we are forced to wonder at two things: what will the world be without this alloy and is it really less than a century, since this stainless steel was invented!

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Visalakshi Ramani