If you had to pick a few technologies that have had a tremendous effect on modern society, the refining of iron and steel would have to be somewhere near the top of the list. Iron and steel show up in a huge array of modern products. Cars, tractors, bridges, trains (and their rails), tools, skyscrapers, guns, ships -- even the common steel can -- all depend on iron and steel to make them strong and inexpensive. Iron is so important that primitive societies are measured by the point at which they learn how to refine iron and enter the iron age!

Have you ever wondered how people refine iron and steel? You probably have heard of iron ore, but how is it that you extract a metal from a rock? In this edition of HowStuffWorks, you'll learn all about iron and steel.