Steels are alloys of iron and carbon which are widely used in construction and other applications because of their high tensile strengths and low costs.
Steel has been produced for thousands of years with new production methods being devised in the 17th century.
It was the invention of the Bessemer process in the mid-19th century that began a new era of mass-produced steel.
Further steel making process developments lowered the cost of production and increased steel quality.
Carbon steels, composed primarily of iron and carbon, account for the majority of steel production. However, alloy steels, where varying amounts and combinations of metals are added, are used where different properties are required for specific purposes.
The cutlery set shown here is made out of stainless steel (a type of alloy steel).
Stainless steel, also known as inox steel, contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium by mass, and is used where both the properties of steel and corrosion resistance are required.