S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Heymann, Mr Alexander (chemistry)

Born: 1867, Yanishky, Russia.
Died: 11 January 1922, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Alexander Heymann, son of Dr Julius Heymann, chemist, and his wife Anna, was educated at the University of Moscow and obtained the degrees Master of Surgery (MCh), Master of Philosophy (MPh), and Master of Arts (MA). He came to the South African Republic (Transvaal) in 1891 and was chief chemist to H. Eckstein and Company (Rand Mines) for some time. He must have left the country again, perhaps at the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899, for in March 1900, just three months before British troops entered Pretoria, he was in present Maputo, Mozambique, from where he requested a passport to enter the republic.

In 1903 Heymann became a member of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa and in June that year read a paper on "Some mine gasses: Their toxicology and possible connection with miner's phthisis", which was published in the society's Journal (Vol. 3, pp. 233-238; discussion in Vol. 4, pp. 64-75). It followed a paper on the same disease read a few months earlier by W. Cullen*. Heyman published other papers too, for example, "Notes on the quantitative determination of nitrous fumes in firing 'cheesa' sticks" (Ibid, 1912/3, Vol. 13, pp. 464-466). During 1904/5, 1906/7 and 1907/8 he was a member of the society's council. In 1905 he joined the South African Association for the Advancement of Science and was still a member in 1918. In 1907 he was appointed as a member of the Transvaal Mining Regulations Commission (with Charles Porter* and F.E.T. Krause), which issued its final report in 1910.

After the Anglo-Boer War Heymann practised as an analytical and consulting chemist and consulting metallurgist to several companies and mining groups on the Witwatersrand, though in 1905 he was again employed at H. Eckstein and Co's chemical laboratory in Marshall Street West. [During 1903-1909 J. Heymann, presumably his father, also practised as a chemist in Johannesburg]. From about 1908 [Alexander] Heyman's Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory was situated in the Marshall Square Buildings, but by 1916 had moved to Fox Street. His hobby was motoring. During World War I (1914-1918) he was detained as a prisoner of war in Germany, where he was seriously ill. He was a naturalized South African citizen and was survived by his wife, Editha Heymann, born Meyerling, and three children.

List of sources:
Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa. Journal, 1903-1914, Vol. 3-5, 7-8, 13-14; Proceedings, 1903, Vol. 3: List of members.

General directory of South Africa, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1916.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 48318: death notice, Alexander Heyman.

National Library of Australia. Final report of the [Transvaal] Mining Regulations Commission. Downloaded from http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/18773713?selectedversion=NBD4567567 on 2017-8-28.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Heymann, Alexander.

Rosenthal, E. Southern African dictionary of national biography. London: F. Warne, 1966.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1905/6, 1910, 1918: Lists of members.

South African who's who, 1908, 1909, 1917/8.

Compiled by: C. Plug