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A Brief History of the Heat Treat Oven

Necessity is the greatest catalyst for innovation. This was also the case with the invention of the heat treat oven. The more man’s ambitions developed, the more he needed specific tools to accomplish his goals. This is where the idea of the heat treat oven was born.

This journey began with the production of iron somewhere around the 2000 BCE in southern Asia. Iron was replacing bronze due to its strength and durability. At this crude stage open fires acted as the heat treat oven. The iron was heated, worked, heated, worked, and so on until it was ready to be cooled.

The concept of heat treating was one of universal birth. All over the world in different civilizations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, metalworkers began to enclose the fire pits little by little as it was noticed that heat uniformity and heat retention had a substantial effect on the product and on the productivity of the worker.

As man’s dreams for iron implements became more and more specialized, so did the heat treating requirements. The heat treat oven became a tool for science and engineering.  Heat treating became more than just a means of creating a desired product; it became the science of learning to controlling metallic compositions and their properties.

3,000 Years later steel replaced iron and brought with it a myriad of possibilities. Steel was stronger, more flexible, and more durable than cast or wrought iron. That said, producing steel was also time-consuming, labor intensive and costly.

As the demand for steel grew with the railway boom, a new process emerged called the Bessemer Process. This process allowed high quality steel to be manufactured in minutes instead of days and while using less fuel and labor.

From these earliest heat treat ovens of the Iron Age to the creation of mass assembly lines, heat treating has touched all aspects of everyday life from railroads, pipelines, refineries, vehicles, infrastructure, buildings, bolts, nuts, washers and dryers, and tools of every kind.

The heat treat oven revolutionized the world by providing endless possibilities for the creation, development and use of metals.

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