Western Kentucky a Birthplace of Steel: A WKMS News Documentary

May 18, 2015


Credit Todd Hatton

The production explores the history and mystery of western Kentucky’s early 19th century iron industry and how one of the men behind it, William Kelly, developed the process of refining iron into steel that kickstarted America’s rise to industrial might.

However, there is much controversy surrounding Kelly’s invention and whether industrial espionage took it to Great Britain to begin the steel revolution there.

"Western Kentucky A Birthplace of Steel" was inspired by information in a successful nomination authored by MSU Chemistry professor Dr. Bommanna Loganathan that resulted in Kentucky's first ever National Historic Chemical Landmark designation from the American Chemical Society.

William Kelly
Credit From the book William Kelly A True History of the So-Called Bessemer Process by John N. Boucher, Public Domain

"Producer Todd Hatton has done wonderful research to coincide with the work of regional historians and Dr. Loganathan to bring richness to this documentary," said Chad Lampe, WKMS News Director, "and we hope listeners find this project informative and intriguing as we present historical facts with a unique and entertaining approach."

Listen to the full program below.