For over 4000 years iron has been used for construction and tool making due to its abundance, durability and ability to be molded at high temperatures. Steel is iron with a .2-1.5 percent carbon content, making it harder than pure iron but still malleable, unlike cast iron which has a 3-4.5 percent carbon content.
Until the 1800s when Bessemer process was invented, steel was difficult to synthesis and very expensive. The expansion of rail roads across the US greatly increased the demand for steel, encouraging new cheaper ways to manufacture it.
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