|After the Crimean War (1854-1856), there was a large demand for iron and steel for making armaments and also for supplying steel for the new railways.
In 1860, John Brown of Sheffield took out the first licence to produce Bessemer steel.
Using the Bessemer process, steel making companies in Sheffield were able to supply cheap steel in large quantities for railway parts, armour plating and construction. Sheffield firms continued to produce high quality steel for precision tools.
In 1850 the production of steel in Britain was about 50000 tons. About 85% of this was produced in Sheffield. By 1880, production of Bessemer steel was over a million tons out of a total steel production of about 1300000 tons.