Martien was probably never a serious contender for the honor of
discovering the atmospheric process of making steel. In the present
state of the record, it is not an unreasonable assumption that his
patent was never seriously exploited and that the Ebbw Vale Iron Works
hoped to use it, in conjunction with the Mushet patents, to upset
The position of Mushet is not so clear, and it is ho
ed that further
research can eventually throw a clearer light on his relationship with
the Ebbw Vale Iron Works. It may well be that the "opinion of
metallurgists in later years" is sound, and that both Mushet and
Bessemer had successfully worked at the same problem. The study of
Mushet's letters to the technical press and of the attitude of the
editors of those papers to Mushet suggests the possibility that he,
too, was used by Ebbw Vale for the purposes of their attacks on
Bessemer. Mushet admits that he was not a free agent in respect of
these patents, and the failure of Ebbw Vale to ensure their full life
under English patent law indicates clearly enough that by 1859 the firm
had realized that their position was not strong enough to warrant a
legal suit for infringement against Bessemer. Their purchase of the
Uchatius process and their final attempt to develop Martien's ideas
through the Parry patents, which exposed them to a very real risk of a
suit by Bessemer, are also indications of the politics in the case.
Mushet seems to have been a willing enough victim of Ebbw Vale's
scheming. His letters show an almost presumptuous assumption of the
mantle of his father; while his sometimes absurd claims to priority of
invention (and demonstration) of practically every new idea in the
manufacturing of iron and steel progressively reduced the respect for
his name. Bessemer claims an impressive array of precedents for the use
of manganese in steel making and, given his attitude to patents and his
reliance on professional advice in this respect, he should perhaps, be
given the benefit of the doubt. A dispassionate judgment would be that
Bessemer owed more to the development work of his Swedish licensees
than to Mushet.
 William T. Jeans, The creators of the age of steel,
Kelly's right to be adjudged the joint inventor of what is now often
called the Kelly-Bessemer process is questionable. Admittedly, he
experimented in the treatment of molten metal with air blasts, but it
is by no means clear, on the evidence, that he got beyond the
experimental stage. It is certain that he never had the objective of
making steel, which was Bessemer's primary aim. Nor is there evidence
that his process was taken beyond the experimental stage by the Cambria
Works. The rejection of his "apparatus" by W. F. Durfee must have been
based, to some extent at least, upon the Johnstown trials. There are
strong grounds then, for agreeing with one historian who
The fact that Kelly was an American is evidently the principal
reason why certain popular writers have made much of an invention
that, had not Bessemer developed his process, would never have
attracted notice. Kelly's patent proved very useful to industrial
interests in this country as a bargaining weapon in negotiations
with the Bessemer group for the exchange of patent rights.
 Bessemer dealt with Kelly's claim to priority in a letter
to Engineering, 1896, vol. 61, p. 367.
 Louis C. Hunter, "The heavy industries since 1860," in H.
F. Williamson (editor), The growth of the American economy, New
York, 1944, p. 469.
Kelly's suggestion that some British puddlers may have
communicated his secret to Bessemer can, probably, never be verified.
All that can be said is that Bessemer was not an ironman; his contacts
with the iron trade were, so far as can be ascertained, nonexistent
until he himself invaded Sheffield. So it is unlikely that such a
secret would have been taken to him, even if he were a well-known
 Later developed into a dramatic story by Boucher, op.
cit. (footnote 97).