The Gayley Dry Blast Process: Effectiveness in U.S and European Economies in 1907

Posted By Richard Jefferson on 08 December 2014

Posted in The Vintage Machinery Almanac

This article was originally published in Electrochemical and Metallurgical Industry Publication of August 1907. Information within this article is therefore correct as of 1907. The publication of this material aims to provide historical insight on the subject and its place in industry.

To the Editor of Electrochemical and Metallurgical Industry:

SIR: While traveling in Continental Europe a few months ago, I had several interviews with some prominent iron masters, and I naturally was interested to learn what they think about the Gayley process.

The general impression about this system on the other side is that it does not and will not effect a reasonable saving, i.e. a saving that will pay more than the ordinary interest on the investment. Otherwise, the European iron works would be the first to adopt this system, since the economical conditions over there necessitate the greatest possible economy, especially with respect to raw material, which is high-priced in Europe as compared to America.

If the Gayley process would effect a saving it would have a much greater comparative value in Europe than in America, the cost of the raw materials being a much greater item over there than here. In this country the cost of labor is of greatest importance, in Europe the cost of the raw materials. Hence, a material saving process which is successful in America will be still more successful in Europe, while a labor-saving process which is successful in Europe will be still more successful in America.

I was informed that in certain iron works the most careful observations and researches have been made, for several years, relative to the influence of the moisture of the air upon the iron output. In some of the iron works the difference of temperature in the summer and winter amounts to 400 C. But even with this great difference practically no increase of the iron output in winter as compared to the summer output was observed. The argument is that since a decrease of 400 C. in temperature means a corresponding decrease of the air moisture, an increase of the yield of the furnace should have been observed, if the Gayley process is to be a success.

Reliable detailed data on the saving effected by the Gayley process would certainly be highly appreciated by iron and steel men.


[From the manner in which the Gayley process has been received in Europe, and especially in Germany, in the technical press as well as in meetings of engineering societies, it would seem that our European friends approach the problem by way of speculating a priori as to what results they may expect from dry blast. In spite of its ingenuity this speculative method which has been so characteristic of certain renowned systems of metaphysics, due to German philosophers, involves great dangers when applied to new engineering problems. The only proper way to discuss the Gayley process is to take the exact data of its operation in plants where it is used on an industrial scale, and to analyze these figures so as to deduce the causes from the results. This method, which avoids all dangers of speculation and simply analyzes the facts, has been applied to a set of figures of Mr. Gayley by Dr. J. W. Richards. But, of course, such an analysis requires very full experimental data, and we join our correspondent in the hope that full reliable data on the working of the Gayley process - in addition to those already given by Mr. Gayley and Mr. Meissner - will soon be available. We await with special interest the results of the Pottstown plant. It would also be very interesting if those European iron masters who have observed the influence of moisture of air upon the iron output during a series of years would publish their figures. - EDITOR]

Image Credit: The U.S National Archives