When in history do we first have record of steel being used as a material? I am also interested in both its initial purpose and when it was first used in weapon making.

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    As demonstrated, the answer to the question asked in the title can be obtained quite easily. The latter part of the text hints at a more interesting question, but deviates from that described in the title. If indeed you're researching the history of steel weaponry, a bit of additional information on where you're stuck might aid in the construction of more comprehensive answers...
    – Shog9
    Nov 4, 2011 at 19:33

2 Answers 2


According to wikipedia:

The earliest known production of steel is a piece of ironware excavated from an archaeological site in Anatolia (Kaman-Kalehoyuk) and is about 4,000 years old. Other ancient steel comes from East Africa, dating back to 1400 BC. In the 4th century BC steel weapons like the Falcata were produced in the Iberian Peninsula, while Noric steel was used by the Roman military. The Chinese of the Warring States (403–221 BC) had quench-hardened steel, while Chinese of the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) created steel by melting together wrought iron with cast iron, gaining an ultimate product of a carbon-intermediate steel by the 1st century AD. The Haya people of East Africa discovered a type of high-heat blast furnace which allowed them to forge carbon steel at 1,802 °C (3,276 °F) nearly 2,000 years ago. This ability was not duplicated until centuries later in Europe during the Industrial Revolution.

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    I don't think it's really appropriate for the site to copy paste from Wikipedia. Oct 12, 2011 at 20:13
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    @SethRogersΨ: No it is not appropriate, or even particularly helpful. When Internet users search for this information, all this site does is draw users away from the original source. But it's also the questions that are a problem. If they can be so easily answered by looking up the word and cutting-pasting the answer, this site will never leave private beta. But, no, it doesn't help that the answerers don't even attempt to add some sort of insight into the subject. Is the subject of History really this uninspired and mind-numbingly tedious, or is it just this site? Oct 13, 2011 at 13:19
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    @RobertCartaino: actually I'd say it's more the asker's fault, if he didn't even bother searching for the answer before asking.
    – o0'.
    Oct 28, 2011 at 13:07
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    @Lohoris That's not what I meant to type. :) The comment is supposed to read "but the asker isn't responsible for this answer".
    – corsiKa
    Nov 2, 2011 at 13:26
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    I disagree, I don't think this is a bad question. Yes its easily answered by checking sources so the questioner is lazy and or didn't read wikipedia properly - but the result is that a search of this website, or perhaps eventually a google search of the actual question will instantly answer it, eventually, this kind of data will be very useful in information database's.
    – Tomas
    Nov 4, 2011 at 14:57

According to wikipedia, Steel has been around since antiquity, but reference to steel weapons can be found in 4th century BC Ibernia, Romans, and in Chinese references during their Warring States era.

The steel that we think of today was originally made East Africa by the Haya people over two eons ago, but wouldn't be rediscovered until the Industrial revolution. Before then, what we think of that makes the weapons and buildings that we see didn't' really exist.

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    -1 Please don't copy answers. Oct 11, 2011 at 19:49
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    @DantheMan As you can see by the timestamps they were posted almost at the exact same time. If there was say a twenty minute difference in time then yes I'd agree, but by the time I had typed my answer out, referenced, and hit submit, that could not have been done in the two minute difference. Oct 11, 2011 at 19:54
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    @DantheMan It would be customary to remove your -1 as it was a misunderstanding. Oct 11, 2011 at 20:01
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    @DantheMan: When the answer is copied from another source, you can hardly complain about the duplicate content. Seriously, if this site can't do better than copying a bunch of reference material, it is not going to get out of private beta. Oct 12, 2011 at 3:42
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    @noocyte: If the history experts on this site don't have problems to solve that aren't already well-documented in "General Reference" sources, this site has already failed. We don't need a site that only adds another level of indirection between the question and the cited answer. See the "How Things Work" problem: meta.history.stackexchange.com/questions/3/… Oct 12, 2011 at 14:10

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