Sketch of Alexander Holley
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Sketch of Alexander Lyman Holley.

Credit: Rivers of Steel

Heralded as the founder of the American steel industry, Alexander Holley (1832-1882) was already a skilled engineer and foreign technical correspondent for the New York Times, when in 1863 he purchased the U.S. rights to the Bessemer process for manufacturing steel. In 1865, he designed and built the first U.S. plant employing the Bessemer process in Troy, N.Y., followed by one in Harrisburg, Pa. He then planned or consulted on many others, including the Cambria Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and Scranton Steel works. In the 1860s and 1870s, Holley also patented significant improvements to Bessemer's original designs, which helped the American steel industry thrive.

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