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Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

Article about: Here is a question that I have always pondered,,what is it that separates these 2 types of steel. Solingen for one is supposedly the strongest of steel made,, whereas Krupp is the toughest s

  1. #11

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Seeing how some 2nd Model Naval daggers after surrender were broken in half makes me wonder how strong Solingen steel was!
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill

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  3. #12

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Yeah, I have two KM swords that were broken in half upon surrender.

    Luke

  4. #13

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Quote by big ned View Post
    There are currently over 3,500 different types of steel that have been developed over the years for inumerable uses, so it's a massive subject to cover ..................... An interesting fact is that if they were to build the Eiffel Tower today, they would need 66% less steel to do so, due to the improvements .................. since when it was originally constructed. Ned.
    While the side trip to the construction of the Titanic was a little off topic, it did illustrate that technology has made some significant differences. Not that it absolved the builders from what turned out to be inadequate engineering, and a lack of quality control with (the last time I looked) poor quality iron rivets that contributed to the failure of the joining of the hull plating, which was a mild steel that was most likely more prone to tearing than cracking. With the excellent point made by 'big ned' I think showing that there have been a lot of changes from the time of the Industrial Revolution through to the present.

    Quote by Larry C View Post
    Seeing how some 2nd Model Naval daggers after surrender were broken in half makes me wonder how strong Solingen steel was!
    More to the general theme of the discussion, my own observation from a look at a modern metallurgical analysis of the steels used during the time of the TR, contrasted with the end of the 19th century. Showing much better quality control earlier rather than the later period. Also noting that perhaps the only surviving (19th century) iron/steel mill in Solingen started out in the mid 19th century being notable at the time for what were most likely castings. And that Thyssen which rivaled Krupp, was left out of the picture. With what sparked my original interest in some of the more technical aspects of TR era manufacturing being the breakage that I also saw with especially the tips of the blades, as contrasted with the service bayonets some of which were heavily used and abused but only rarely broken (at least in my experience). FP

  5. #14

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    The breaking of knife/dagger blades, if not used in the way they were designed for, is relatively common regardless of the make up of the steel in most cases. Not a nice thought, but a fact non the less, is that during attacks and homicides blades are often snapped off in the bodies of victims by sideways movement during a sustained/frenzied attack. This is very common, and it's not as if the density of a human body is anything like that of say wood or compacted soil. A dagger is designed for stabbing, straight in, straight out; it can sustain being pulled up or down, but across the thinnest part, the spine, it is relatively weak and that is where the blade is likely to fail.

    It is interesting to note that the Solingen knife industry was close to foundering after the end of WW1, but the rise of the 3rd Reich and it's love of ceremonial daggers and swords effectively re-energised the fortunes of the area and people who worked and lived there; indeed, it is still one of the premium makers of blades and related instruments for use in many different forms of everyday life.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  6. #15

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Quote by Larry C View Post
    Seeing how some 2nd Model Naval daggers after surrender were broken in half makes me wonder how strong Solingen steel was!
    Larry, breakage does not necessarily speak to the quality of the steel. Much depends on the choice of heat treatment of the blade. Most of the TR blades were made of relatively simple steels, closely related to todays A1 (air hardening), O1 (oil hardening) and various S (saw steel) steels. All of these are simple, but excellent steels, and can be processed to perform a number of functions. At full hardness of approx. Rockwell C 65, all these (and most other) steels are extremely brittle. For that reason the steel is annealed to provide some toughness. For best cutting / edge holding capability with an acceptable toughness this would be around Rockwell C 52-57. At Rockwell C 45-47 you would arrive at spring steel. It is my guess that bayonets are treated closer to that range, since edge holding capability is less important than toughness.
    It should be noted that layered and damascus steel was used to overcome the limitations imposed by regular steel blades. The layers of non hardened steel provide flexibility, permitting the sandwiched hardened steel to treated to a much higher level.
    Wolfgang

  7. #16

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Quote by wolfeknives View Post
    Larry, breakage does not necessarily speak to the quality of the steel. Much depends on the choice of heat treatment of the blade. Most of the TR blades were made of relatively simple steels, closely related to todays A1 (air hardening), O1 (oil hardening) and various S (saw steel) steels. All of these are simple, but excellent steels, and can be processed to perform a number of functions. At full hardness of approx. Rockwell C 65, all these (and most other) steels are extremely brittle. For that reason the steel is annealed to provide some toughness. For best cutting / edge holding capability with an acceptable toughness this would be around Rockwell C 52-57. At Rockwell C 45-47 you would arrive at spring steel. It is my guess that bayonets are treated closer to that range, since edge holding capability is less important than toughness.
    It should be noted that layered and damascus steel was used to overcome the limitations imposed by regular steel blades. The layers of non hardened steel provide flexibility, permitting the sandwiched hardened steel to treated to a much higher level.
    Wolfgang
    Wolfgang, I don't know if I still have the information in a machine readable format. But from some hard copy notes that I still have - while I agree with you that breakage does not necessarily correspond to the quality of the steel, and that the heat treatment is a very important factor. What would be your opinion if I was to tell you that with something more than a handful of dagger blades, ranging from early to late, they had carbon readings ranging from .15% to .5%? And that the more modern steels were more reliable (and much easier to produce in quantity) IMO when you factor in that Damascus is really only as good as the bladesmith (but I think better as a separate topic by itself). Best regards, Fred

  8. #17

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Quote by Frogprince View Post
    Wolfgang, I don't know if I still have the information in a machine readable format. But from some hard copy notes that I still have - while I agree with you that breakage does not necessarily correspond to the quality of the steel, and that the heat treatment is a very important factor. What would be your opinion if I was to tell you that with something more than a handful of dagger blades, ranging from early to late, they had carbon readings ranging from .15% to .5%? And that the more modern steels were more reliable (and much easier to produce in quantity) IMO when you factor in that Damascus is really only as good as the bladesmith (but I think better as a separate topic by itself). Best regards, Fred
    Fred, I would be somewhat surprised that the range would be that low, all below .5%. Carbon content that low is usually only found in very early carbon steels. Below is a list of carbon content of simple steels. These have been around for a long time. I would love to see the results of the test you mentioned, it is good information.
    There is absolutely no doubt that todays steels are much better. Quality control along with induction smelting/melting and advances in technology provide extremely clean, tightly controlled steel.


    Steel Carbon Content
    F2 1.30
    1084 .084
    1095 .95
    W1 1.00
    O1 .95
    5160 .60
    L6 .70
    S1 .53

    Yes, the quality of damascus steel is affected by the blade smith. It still depends on the quality of the steel components and proper heat treating - here the skill of the blade smith comes into play. This is of course assuming the smith can produce a blade without cold shuts or inclusions - weak points in the blade. Controlling and manipulating the damascus pattern depends entirely on the skill of the blade smith and separates the mediocre from the master smith.

    Wolfgang

  9. #18

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Wolfgang, My best recollection is that at least some of the documentation was sent to me privately, and while I know that the topic was discussed publicly, I make a very serious effort not to share specific information that I have not been given permission to disclose. (And while I haven’t seen his name online for a while, I believe that there are some folks out there who may remember the discussion.) So lacking a link to the original discussion, it will take some searching as I no longer have the machine that was used at the time to see what was on it, and if I still have a machine readable version of what was said publicly.

    But what I believe that I can say at the moment is that there were two tests using two different groups of daggers. That the lab was a reputable one, using an ASTM standard testing procedure. And that my search for the published period DIN standard(s) to use as a comparison against a period U.S. standard was unsuccessful. And that is without going into all of the lab results which I also found interesting, tending IMO to corroborate the carbon readings.

    And while I have no argument that modern Western steels are generally made to a much higher standard, that’s not always the case IMO with some of the current products from some other parts of the world - and I will let it go at that........... Best regards, Fred

  10. #19

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Fred
    Should you find and be able to share the test results sometime in the future, that would be great. I do have access to extensive DIN conversion tables, and should be able to find equivalents.
    I spend several days at the Klingenmuseum in Solingen each year. A group of trades organizations and University representatives are in the process of refurbishing several old cutlery manufacturing facilities. They are performing some manufacturing work for research purposes now. Their efforts include extensive research into materials and processing.
    The Curator of the museum has been very helpful. I am certain that she will be able to hep me to obtain access to some of the researchers involved in the restorations when I visit in May of next year. Since I find this subject extremely interesting, I will be glad to post any info. I can obtain.

    You are of course correct, most of the quality steel is still produced in western countries. Japan however produces some of the cleanest tool steel available. This I know from bitter experience.

    Wolfgang

  11. #20

    Default Re: Solingen steel vs Krupp steel

    Quote by Frogprince View Post
    Krupp was a diverse heavy industry in multiple locations that not only made steel from the raw materials, but also had the larger scale equipment to make heavy armaments like naval canon barrels, artillery pieces, etc. etc. Whereas Solingen (and its factories) were what we might now call “end users”. In that the steel that they used was most likely in the form of smaller billets, from I would imagine a number of steel makers that could be used to make knives, swords, and daggers. With some of it (in theory at least) being made to RZM specifications. With a very dedicated collector on a now non-existent forum, who had some daggers sent out for a professional (relatively non-intrusive) metallurgical analysis which yielded some surprising (to me at least) results. FP
    Thats an interesting bit of information as I thought Solingen derived their resources from mining and not getting the left overs from other steel manufacturers. Larry
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill

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