S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Sharwood, Dr William John (metallurgical chemistry)

Born: 2 September 1867, United States of America.
Died: 4 July 1939, Barkeley, California, United States of America.
Active in: SA.

William John Sharwood, an American chemist who specialised in the cyanide method of recovering gold from its ores, was a son of William Sharwood and his wife Mary Hedge. He taught chemistry at the University of California from 1892 to 1897 and 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 (29 pp). 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 may have visited South Africa during these years and contributed three papers to the society's Journal: "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 worked for a time for the Drum Lummon Mining Company in Montana and then for 25 years as metallurgical chemist to the Homestake Mines in Lead, South Dakota, until his retirement in 1929. He 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.... In 1906 he was granted a patent for "the art of precipitating metals from cyanide solutions". 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). He was married to Martha ("Mattie") Watts Richards, with whom he had a daughter.

List of sources:
Chemical and Metallurgical Society of South Africa. Proceedings, 1899, Vol. 2: List of members.

Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa. Proceedings, 1903, Vol. 3: List of members; Journal, 1908, Vol. 8, 1909/10, Vol. 10, and 1911/12, Vol. 12: Papers by Sharwood; 1913-1914, Vol. 14: List of officers.

Google Patents. Art of precipitating metals from cyanide solutions. Retrieved from https://patents.google.com/patent/US832880A/en on 1 October 2020.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

William John Sharwood. Ancestry. Retrieved from https://www.ancestry.com.au/genealogy/records/william-john-sharwood-24-89dh66 on 1 October 2020.

William John sharwood. Find a Grave. Retrieved from https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/97353733/william-john-sharwood on 5 October 2020.

Compiled by: C. Plug

Last updated: 2020-10-05 11:09:24