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This was followed by the Siemens-Martin process and then the Gilchrist-Thomas process that refined the quality of steel.

With their introductions, mild steel replaced wrought iron.

Steel was produced in bloomery furnaces for thousands of years, but its large-scale, industrial use only began after more efficient production methods were devised in the 17th century, with the production of blister steel and then crucible steel.

With the invention of the Bessemer process in the mid-19th century, a new era of mass-produced steel began.

While iron alloyed with carbon is called carbon steel, alloy steel is steel to which other alloying elements have been intentionally added to modify the characteristics of steel.

Common alloying elements include: manganese, nickel, chromium, molybdenum, boron, titanium, vanadium, tungsten, cobalt, and niobium.

Smelting, using carbon to reduce iron oxides, results in an alloy (pig iron) that retains too much carbon to be called steel.Too little carbon content leaves (pure) iron quite soft, ductile, and weak.Carbon contents higher than those of steel make a brittle alloy commonly called pig iron.Further refinements in the process, such as basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS), largely replaced earlier methods by further lowering the cost of production and increasing the quality of the final product.Today, steel is one of the most common man-made materials in the world, with more than 1.6 billion tons produced annually.

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Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon and other elements.