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Definition of OPEN-HEARTH PROCESS
: a process of making steel from pig iron in a reverberatory furnace equipped with a regenerator
First Known Use of OPEN-HEARTH PROCESS
Steelmaking technique that for most of the 20th century accounted for most steel made in the world. William Siemens made steel from pig iron in a reverberatory furnace of his design in 1867. The same year the French manufacturer Pierre-Émile Martin (1824–1915) used the idea to produce steel by melting wrought iron with steel scrap. Siemens used the waste heat given off by the furnace: he directed the fumes from the furnace through a brick checkerwork, heating it to a high temperature, and then used the same path to introduce air into the furnace; the preheated air significantly increased the flame temperature. The open-hearth process furnace (which replaced the Bessemer process) has itself been replaced in most industrialized countries by the basic oxygen process and the electric furnace. See alsoreverberatory furnace.