Film ID:
YFA 3309



Visitor Tabs


A tour of the various departments of Firth Brown's Atlas Steel Works, Sheffield including processes of melting stainless steel production, rolling, production of hollow roll products, forging, heat treatments, nitriding process, production of drop forgings, alloy steel castings and the use of steel power generation.

Brown-Firth Research Laboratories

Titles:   Firth Brown Sheffield England
             Steelmakers Steel Founders Forgemasters Heavy
             Produced by
             The Brown-Firth Research Laboratories Sheffield

The opening commentary outlines the history of the company and the film shows old engravings and portraits of Thomas Firth and John Brown. This is followed by the modern melting shop.

The exterior of the works on Savile Street and the railway sidings, where a shunter gives hand signals to the driver. Scrap is received to be used as the raw materials in steel making.

The Siemens open hearth furnaces used to produce carbon and low alloy steels are charged mechanically and some additions made by furnacemen. The molten steel is released into ladles and a large 200 ton ingot requires the simultaneous tapping of three furnaces.

In the electric arc melting shop, where alloy and stainless steels are produced, the furnaces are charged and the melt begins. The furnacemen take samples of the steel for testing and also check the temperature of the furnace. The molten steel is discharged into ladles and poured into ingot moulds in the casting pit. The ingots are then machined to remove surface imperfections before being heated in furnaces prior to rolling. The ingots are rolled into bars and billets on the 28'' two-stand mill which is operated from the control room. After sawing into lengths and further inspection and pneumatic chipping to remove defects the bars are rolled on the 3-high bar mills.

This is followed by heat treatment in furnaces equipped with mechanical chargers to produce the special physical and mechanical properties required. There is more testing and inspection at this stage.

Hollow rolled products such as locomotive tyres are forged and shaped on the roughing mill and the horizontal finishing mill. This is followed by heat treatment and immersion in the quenching tanks.

Large forgings are formed on hydraulic presses and must be kept at the required temperatures in furnaces. Small forgings are produced under hammers where the skill of the hammer-smith is shown. From the hydraulic presses the forgings are transferred to the heat treatment furnaces, prior to machining in the machine shops. The manufacture of forged steel rolls is also shown.

Small ingots of high alloy steel are produced by the high frequency induction melting process. The steel is poured into ingot moulds and swing frame grinders are used to remove surface defects. The ingots are reduced to billets by cogging, followed by surface grinding and cutting, rolling and forging, annealing and testing for hardness. Small cut pieces used for dies are forged. Specialised heat treatment is available for special steel machine tools and dies.

The nitriding process is shown.

Lorries transport steel bars to Firth-Derihon Stampings Ltd. where forged steel die blocks are produced by drop forging. Some of the products are shown.

Alloy steel castings are produced at Scunthorpe. The skill of the hand moulder is still important. The steel is melted in a converter and poured into the sand moulds. This is followed by heat treatment and the finishing processes.

Scientific testing is undertaken by the Brown Firth Research Laboratories.

The film ends with some examples of the use of special steels including a motor patrol boat, racing car and aircraft.

Thos. Firth and John Brown Ltd. was formed in 1930 by the merger of the steel producing interests of John Brown & Co. with Thos. Firth & Sons.

The film was first shown to a customer audience on 28 October 1957 at the New Inn Hotel, Birmingham (Firth Brown News, Winter 1957).

Donated to Sheffield Libraries by Thos. Firth & John Brown Ltd