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Jacob Reese 1825-1907

Inventor and manufacturer born  in Llannelly, Wales, July 14, 1825, the fourth son of William And Elizabeth Reese.  William Reese, an ironmonger,  constructed the first sand-bottom  blast furnace at Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and  his son, Jacob, assisted in making the first  “bloom.”   Reese was a self-educated metallurgist and scientist  who married Eliza Matthews of Pittsburgh and had  four sons.  He built the first iron works in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and became the first super-intendent of Cambria Iron Works in Johnstown, antedating John Fritz.  He next built and operated the Fort Pitt Iron Works  and during the Civil War made iron armor plate for the United States Government.  He also was a partner in the Petrolite Oil Refinery of Pittsburgh.

During his lifetime Jacob Reese took out about 175 patents in the United States and had a record of over 500 inventions and discoveries.  He is the inventor recognized as discovering the methods best suited to the manufacture of steel using the basic open hearth process.  He also discovered that basic slag from the Bessemer process when properly ground was a good fertilizer and built an industry around  this by-product.

Reese engaged  in a long legal contest over his patent claims for the open-hearth process of steelmaking which he patented in  his name.  He moved to Philadelphia in 1892 and was a Fellow of the American Association  for the Advancement of Science, the Franklin  Institute and Philadelphia Academy.  At the time of his death from paralysis he was working on a

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