One of the most important creations of the 20th century,stainless steel, is often attributed to one man, Harry Brearley. But Brearley was just one of many metallurgists and scientists to realize the importance of chromium in protecting against the corrosion of steel.
In 1912, Brearley stumbled upon this realization in Sheffield, England while working on a new metal alloy to reduce pitting and erosion of rifle barrels.
In Germany, Krupp engineers Benno Strauss and Eduard Maurer were experimenting with chromium-nickel steel for pyrometer tubes, developing the firstaustenitic stainless steel the same year.
Meanwhile in America, Elwood Haynes, who had earlier patented Stellite alloys, was also working with chromium steel, and submitted his patent for a corrosion resistant steel in 1912.
Haynes and Brearley would, ultimately, end up working together marketing and selling stainless steel (which, initially was primarily used in cutlery) in the US.