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Henry Bessemer

On March 4th, 1830, I arrived in London, where a new world seemed opened to me.

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I was quite unable to make any white metal alloy hard enough to be made into powder by my machinery.

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We fixed on No. 4, Queen Street Place, for our City offices, and it was from there that so many of my patented inventions were dated.

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The bronze powder business, however, no longer required my personal attention, and was well managed by those I had chosen as the guardians of a secret, which was long and honourably kept.

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I had now arrived at my seventeenth year, and had attained my full height, a fraction over six feet. I was well endowed with youthful energy, and was of an extremely sanguine temperament.

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I fear this little episode does not speak very favourably for my business capacity in those early days, for I certainly ought to have made much more than I did by this really important invention.

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It is true I had been successful on a small scale in overcoming one of the main difficulties in the new process, but there was still much to invent, and much that at that period I necessarily knew nothing about.

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In such a case secrecy must be absolute to be effective, and although mere vague curiosity induced many persons of my intimate acquaintance to ask to be allowed to just go in and have a peep, I never admitted anyone.

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I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem inasmuch as I had no fixed ideas derived from long-established practice to control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is, is right.

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At this period the enthusiasm of the amateur was fast giving way to a more steady commercial instinct, and I let no opportunity slip of improving my position, but I felt that I was still labouring under the disadvantage of not having acquired some technical profession.

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