Film ID: YFA 5280 Video of YFA_5280 Listen to Steel LISTEN TO STEEL 1963 Visitor TabsDescription This is a promotional film commissioned by the British Steel Industry which highlights new developments in the manufacturing of steel, improving efficiency and cutting costs. The film runs through the entire steel producing process in a Sheffield works, incorporating many of the sounds of the steelworks. The film begins with an image of molten steel. Title – Listen to steel As the door on one of the furnaces containing molten steel closes, a worker fixes a detonator onto another furnace and signals to his work colleague to set off the controlled detonation releasing the molten steel into two large steel tubs. Intertitle – From Britain’s iron and steel works comes the tempo of an industry strong in new processes, new ideas, and new efficiencies. There follows a montage of images of the steelworks from outside and of the molten steel overflowing the metal tubs. Intertitle – The mechanical handling of raw materials iron ore, scrap and coke. Iron ore from abroad is being unloaded from a ship by a mechanical claw, and scrap metal is loaded onto a bailer. It is then unloaded from railway wagons and transported by a conveyor to be stacked, with the commentary emphasising the automated nature of these processes. At a coke plant red hot coke is poured into a large container for quenching, as it passes under a large water shower, to then be used in the steel furnaces. At the Sinter plant iron ore is being transported in wagons up a pulley to the top of the plant. Intertitle – Ironmaking: iron ore and coke are usually charged in a BLAST FURNACE to make molten iron. A workman oversees the controls as coke is fed into a furnace. At the other end molten iron flows out, with workers controlling the flow using long steel poles. The molten steel is poured into large metal buckets with funnels. Intertitle – STEELMAKING: from molten iron and scrap the oxygen blown LD CONVERTER gives a melt of steel within the hour. The molten steel is poured into the LD converter, with the commentary remarking on the advantage of the process for clean air. A man operates the oxygen jet which lowers down onto it to blow high velocity oxygen onto the molten iron. As the oxygen is released it produces a great blast from the large round metal container, with red hot sparks flying out. Intertitle – Another new concept VACUUM INDUCTION MELTING for special purpose steels of exceptional purity. Two men in white overalls work the controls of the vacuum machine which produces the highest quality alloy steel. Intertitle – The ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE for the alloy, stainless and now bulk steels. Iron ore is emptied rom a large overhead container into a red hot furnace. In this case stainless steel is being made using scrap iron. At number 2 furnace a sample is taken to check for precise specification. The sample is tested in the laboratory. The readings from the spectrometer analysis are typed out. This report is relayed to the furnace to signal that the melt is ready for tapping. The molten metal is released into a large container. Intertitle – The VLN CONVERTER oxygen is blown, for steel of low nitrogen content. Oxygen is blown through the base of the converter, a large round metal container, causing red hot sparks to fly out. The resulting molten steel is then poured out, with a steelworker standing in front behind a portable shield. Then a vehicle releases some substance into the converter from a metal container at the end of a rod. A warning signal is pulled as the converter is rotated back up. Intertitle – The traditional OPEN-HEARTH FURNACE: now oxygen is blown, to make more steel more quickly. Bailed scrap is fed into the furnace as the commentator runs through the wide range of new improvements in this technique. Again the oxygen gun is shown in operation in this furnace. Intertitle – A revolutionary British development of the oxygen blown Open-Hearth process – AJAX. This process is also shown in action, with iron ore being added to the melt. The workers, from behind the control panel, watch the process through round sunglasses, shielding their eyes with their hands, as huge white hot flames emerge from the furnace as the oxygen is blown in. In the teeming bay the molten steel is poured into ingot moulds. These are taken to be kept hot in the soaking pit until ready to be shaped. Intertitle – SHAPING STEEL: Heavy ingots – to be rolled into UNIVERSAL BEAMS, for building and construction. The red hot ingots are put through rollers to emerge as long steel beams. Intertitle – CONTINUOUS CASTING a revolution in the shaping of steel. Molten steel from the ladle is fed into water cooled moulds and shaped into semi-finished form. The continuous casts emerge at the other end. Intertitle – The giant 8,000 TON PRESS A red hot ingot is placed inside the press and rotated by giant chains as it gets pressed, with a man on the ground giving hand signals to those controlling the press. Intertitle – Automated sheet rolling, by the CONTINUOUS HOT STRIP MILL Red hot steel is passed through the rollers of the mill emerging as a wide strip and then passed through more rollers spraying water on it. Two men watch over the controls as the strip emerges in rolls. Intertitle – In such ways the British Steel Industry cuts the costs, controls quality and speeds the delivery to home markets and across the world. There is an aerial view over the steelworks before the film shows examples of the uses of steel. These examples include: an airplane, a US diesel train engine, watches, girders, and a suspension bridge under construction. Steel is also shown being transported for export, loaded onto ships as raw steel or as cars – Zephyrs and Corsairs. The film finishes by returning to the steelworks, showing the door closing on a furnace and the pouring of molten steel. End Credits: Directed by Daniel Ingram Produced by Geoffrey Sumner Photography by Josef Ambor Camera Operator Gerald Massey-Collier Edited by SAGOVSKY Sound Editor Michael Shah Dayan Production Manager John Smith Recording Stephen Dalby Additional Effects Daphne Oram Production Associate Humphrey Swingler Technicolor An Interfilm Production in association with the Film Producers Guild Context This is a riveting promotional film made by British Steel that, quite unusually, captures all the sounds of a foundry at work. Indeed it is the sounds, accompanying the wonderful footage of furnaces in Technicolor, which give the film its fascination and authenticity. It also provides a comprehensive overview of the continuous casting process and new developments in the manufacturing of steel, improving efficiency and cutting costs in the 1960s. The film has two release dates, 1963 and 1968 (with a French version, La Voix de l'acier). The dates are interesting in that the steel industry was re-nationalised by Harold Wilson in 1967, following its de-nationalisation by the Tories in 1956 (and subsequently again by Thatcher in 1988). Presumably the original film was sponsored by the Iron and Steel Board, and the British Steel Corporation re-released it. Under private ownership, many steel companies made promotional films – such as Firth Brown and Park Gate Iron and Steel in Sheffield – perhaps under the threat of Labour re-nationalisation, and each claiming to be doing what they are often accused of not having done, introducing new technology.