S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Ayers, Mr Gilbert Frederick (analytical chemistry)

Born: 1881, Cape Town, South Africa.
Died: 16 December 1944, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Gilbert F. Ayers, son of Frederick and Maria Ayers, matriculated through the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1900. Towards the end of 1902 he was appointed as an assistant in the Department of Chemistry of the South African College, Cape Town, under Professor P.D. Hahn*. He resigned from this post in December 1904. From 1901 to 1904 he was enrolled as a student at the College, but acquired no qualification. By 1903 he was a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science (though his name was initially spelled as Ayres in the membership list), and was still a member in 1910. In 1905 he moved from Rondebosch, Cape Town, to the Transvaal and was employed as a technical chemist at the dynamite factory at Modderfontein, north of Johannesburg. He remained there for the rest of his career. From 1905 to 1909 he was responsible for meteorological observations (rainfall, atmospheric pressure, air temperature and humidity) at the dynamite factory, the results of which were made available to the Meteorological Department of the Transvaal Colony.

As co-author with W. Cullen* Ayers participated in the publication of a paper on "A method for the recovery of zinc from solutions of sulphate" in the Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa (1909/10, Vol. 10, pp. 87-). In 1913, with Thomas Donaldson* and the British South African Explosives Company, he registered a patent for improvements in fuse lighters. He became a member of the of the South African Association of Analytical Chemists (from 1921 the South African Chemical Institute) in 1918 and was still a member in 1933. During this time he published an article on the manufacture of nitro-glycerin in the institute's Journal (1927, Vol. 10(2), pp. 3-).

Ayers married Jessie A. Creed in April 1909 and was survived by her and three children.

List of sources:
Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa. Journal, 1909/10, Vol. 10.

Journal of the South African Chemical Institute. First decennial index, Volumes 1 to 10, January 1918 to July 1927.

National Archives Repository, Pretoria (TAB). Source MHG, Ref. 20/45: Estate papers, Gilbert Frederick Ayers.

New Patents. The South African Mining Journal, 5 April 1913, p. 136. Retrieved from https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-90100/compilation-of-published-sources?itemId=480037149&action=showRecord on 2016-8-24.

Ritchie, W. The history of the South African College, 1829-1918. Cape Town: T. Maskew Miller, 1918.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1903, 1905/6, 1910: Lists of members.

South African Chemical Institute. Proceedings and list of members, 1921-1922 and 1933-1934.

Transvaal [Colony], Meteorological Department. Report,1905, 1907.

Transvaal [Colony]. Transvaal Observatory: Annual Report of the Meteorological Department for the year ended 30th June 1909. Pretoria: Government Printer, 1910.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1906/7.

Compiled by: C. Plug