Philosophical Society of Washington

A Lecture Underwritten by Dr. Bill Spargo, LLC

The Mystery of Iron

Bill Saalbach
Retiring President

2215th Meeting Abstract
Friday, January 12, 2007 at 8:30 PM


Before recorded history, man discovered the art of smelting metals, culminating in the production of iron. Starting from a total lack of metallurgical knowledge, why would they even start the search? How did they succeed? Because there are no written records, archaeological theories have sometimes been little more than speculation. Reenactments of the ancient smelting processes permit experimental testing of these theories. We now have a fair picture of the path these early explorers took. This lecture will trace that path, with some observations of where the footprints are clear or where they remain muddy.

Bill Saalbach

About the Author:

Bill Saalbach received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Virginia. From there, he was selected by Admiral Rickover to serve on the headquarters staff of the Naval Reactors program. He received a Reactor Engineering Certificate from the Design School at the Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. At Naval Reactors, he managed programs for research, design, and procurement of auxiliary components and corrosion technology. Subsequently, he served in the Naval Sea Systems Command in diesel propulsion engineering. For the past eight years, he has worked at JJMA, Inc., now Alion Science and Technology Corporation, as a Senior Electrical Engineer supporting the Navy in aircraft carrier overhaul planning.

He received apprentice training in blacksmithing under Brad Silberberg at the Blacksmith's Guild of the Potomac.

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