b. ? 1704 and d. ? 1776
English mechanic and inventor of cast-steel. He was bred to a mechanical calling and became celebrated for his expertness in repairing clocks, in making and repairing locks, smoke-jacks, roasting-jacks and other articles requiring mechanical skill. He practiced surgery with dexterity. He introduced several improved tools but was much hindered by the inferior quality of the metal, and he then turned his attention to the making of a better kind of steel. His experiments extended over many years, and finally he invented the process of making cast-steel.
Little thinking if we work our souls as nobly as our iron,
Or if angels will commend us at the goal of pilgimage.
Draw thy fierce streams of blinding ore,
Smite on a thousand anvils, roar
Down to the harbor-bars;
Smoulder in smoky sunsets, flare
On rainy nights, while street and square
Lie empty to the stars.
From terrace proud to alley base,
I know thee as my mother’s face.
—Glasgow: Alexander Smith
The painful smith, with force of fervent heat,
The hardest iron soon doth mollifie,
That with his heavy sledge he can it beat,
And fashion to what he it list apply.