A Kelly converter on display at the Smithsonian Institution, circa 1960.
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Image of the converter

Credit: National Museum of American History, Smithsonian

In this small rotary converter, William Kelly was said to have made the first steel at Johnstown's Cambria Iron Works in 1861. This converter was actually made abroad to Kelly's specifications after his initial experiments. Kelly's convertor never worked in the production of steel. It did, however, become a symbol for the birth of the American steel industry in Johnstown. The Bethlehem Steel Company displayed it for many decades in its Johnstown offices before transferring it to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

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