William J. Sharwood, an American chemist who specialised in the cyanide method of recovering gold from its ores, taught chemistry at the University of California during the eighteen-nineties. He wrote Outline of a short course in qualitative chemical analysis... (Berkeley, 1894) for his students, with a revised edition appearing in 1898. An early research paper by him, "Notes on the estimation of cyanogen by silver nitrate, using potassium iodide and ammonia as indicators", was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 1897. Later he submitted a thesis entitled A study of the double cyanides of zinc with potassium and with sodium for the degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the University of California. The thesis was published by the Chemical Publishing Company, Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1904 (29p). He became an associate of the Royal School of Mines (London) and a member of the (British) Institution of Mining and Metallurgy.
By 1899 Sharwood was an associate of the Chemical and Metallurgical Society of South Africa (in 1902 renamed the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa) and by 1911 was a corresponding member of council. He contributed three papers to the society's Journal during these years: "Laboratory tests on the use of coarse and fine lime for cyaniding" (1908, Vol. 8, pp. 293-297); "Precipitating effects of substances containing various forms of carbon and cellulose on cyanide solutions containing gold and silver" (as co-author with Allen J. Clark*; 1909-1910, Vol. 10, pp. 234-); and "Zinc dust tests" (1911/12, Vol. 12, pp. 332-338).
Sharwood published more papers on precipitation from cyanide solutions and in 1914 a collection of these from the Engineering and Mining Journal were published under the title Tests of zinc dust for cyaniding. Cyanide precipitants.... He also compiled a Bibliography of literature on sampling to July 1921 (with M. von Bernewitz, 1922) and, as co-author with C.H. Fulton, participated in writing A manual of fire assay (3rd ed., 1929).