Samuel T. Wellman

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Samuel T. Wellman
Samuel T Wellman.jpg
Industrial entrepreneur
Born (1847-02-05)February 5, 1847
Wareham, Massachusetts
Died July 11, 1919(1919-07-11) (aged 72)
Cleveland, Ohio

Samuel Thomas Wellman, (February 5, 1847 – July 11, 1919) was an American steel industry pioneer, industrialist, and prolific inventor. Charles M. Schwab of Bethlehem Steel described Samuel T. Wellman as "the man who did more than any other living person in the development of steel".[1] Wellman was a close friend of electrical pioneer George Westinghouse,[2] and he was also president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers from 1901 to 1902.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born in Wareham, Massachusetts in 1847, Wellman was the son of a Nashua Iron Company superintendent and a great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Puritan Thomas Wellman.[4] Wellman received his formal engineering training from Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont, and served as a corporal with the First New Hampshire Heavy Artillery during the Civil War. Shortly after the war, Wellman married Julia A. Ballard, with whom he had five children.[1]

Career and influence on the steel industry[edit]

Wellman began his career working at the Nashua Iron Company. He was encouraged by his father to build a regenerative gas furnace for the company. Wellman did this, impressing Carl Wilhelm Siemens, who immediately hired him to establish the first crucible-steel furnace in America.[1] Wellman went on to improve upon the open-hearth process of steel rail production, which in turn had improved upon the Bessemer process.[5] In 1869, Wellman built the first commercially successful open-hearth furnace in America at the Bay State Iron Works in South Boston.[6]

Furnaces were not Wellman's only contribution to the steel industry. He was also instrumental in the development of the Hulett unloader,[7] which allowed the unloading of taconite from the iron ore boats of the Great Lakes, particularly on Lake Erie. In addition to improvements on the Hulett unloader, other important inventions include an open hearth charging machine and a hydraulic crane. Following an unsuccessful venture with his half-brother, Wellman later founded the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Engineering Company in Cleveland, Ohio,[8] which continues under a different name to this day.[1]

Partial list of inventions[edit]

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1920). Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. New York: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. pp. 1151–1154. ISBN 0-87263-105-2. 
  2. ^ Wohleber, Curt (Winter 1997). ""St. George" Westinghouse". American Heritage. 12 (3). Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  3. ^ Haywood, Wilfred. "1903 ASME Council Meeting Photo Riddle". The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  4. ^ Wellman, Joshua Wyman Descendants of Thomas Wellman (1918) Arthur Holbrook Wellman, Boston pp.69-72&455
  5. ^ Association of American Railroads (1942). Quiz on railroads and railroading : 400 questions, 400 answers. Washington, DC: Association of American Railroads. 
  6. ^ Butler Jr., Joseph G. (1918). Fifty Years of Iron and Steel. Cleveland, OH: The Penton Press. pp. 70–72. 
  7. ^ Snow, Richard F. (Fall 1987). "Lifting Iron". American Heritage. 3 (2). Retrieved 2007-01-26. 
  8. ^ Lamoreaux, Naomi R.; et al. (2004). "Financing invention during the second industrial revolution: Cleveland, Ohio 1870-1920" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-26. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Misa, T. J., (1995). A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865-1925. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6052-0
  • Sicilia, D. B. (1989). Samuel Thomas Wellman. In P. F. Paskoff, (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American business history and biography: Iron and steel in the nineteenth century, (pp. 359–363). New York: FactsOnFile. ISBN 0-8160-1890-1

External links[edit]