Steel is having a very interesting year. A copy of Action Comics #1, which marked the first appearance of “the man of steel,” was found in the insulation of a home during renovation and sold at auction for $175,000. Then on June 13th Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures released Man of Steel for an opening weekend gross of $128 million. And, perhaps less widely known but at much more reasonable prices, Firstcut is now producing low-volume machined parts in four different types of steel.
“Why steel?” you might ask. Well, in Superman’s case, it was 1938, almost a decade into the Great Depression. Americans needed a hero, and that hero needed to be tough. Steel, which had made possible the growth of the Roaring Twenties culminating in skyscrapers like the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, was the toughest material known. And while Superman’s Kryptonian flesh is actually stronger than steel, the man-of-steel title reflected the respect that steel had earned. In the case of Firstcut, we’re offering steel because our customers asked for it.
That brings us to the matter of progress. In the case of superheroes one might question whether there has been any. Captain America first appeared in 1941, and one would think that, based on seniority alone, he should be Brigadier General America by now. But despite all his exploits he remains a captain. And what about Ironman? He was created in 1963, 25 years after Superman, and built by a technogeek industrialist, so why iron? Admittedly, steel was already taken, and Ozzy Osbourne would have sounded ridiculous growling “I am titanium man,” but the Iron Age ended somewhere around 500 A.D, folks!
The only possible explanation is that Tony Stark created the original Ironman suit out of scrap in the jungles of Vietnam and had to use what was available, but one would assume that in 50 years of seemingly annual model changes, our flying metal friend should have been renamed Vibranium Man or Adamantium Man or for some other form of unobtainium found only in the Marvel Universe. But despite their love of innovative special effects the fans remain traditionalists at heart.
Not so our fans at Firstcut. In the short time since introducing steel, we now offer stainless 304/304L, stainless 316/316L, steel alloy 4140, and mild low carbon CR1018. And to keep up with customer demand we plan to keep expanding our material offerings. But we don’t plan to machine kryptonite anytime soon, so don’t ask.