S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Truscott, Prof Samuel John (mining engineering)

Born: 6 August 1870, Fowey, Cornwall, England.
Died: 26 September 1950, London, England.

Samuel J. Truscott, professor of mining, was educated at Hartley College, Southampton, and the Royal School of Mines, London. For some 20 years he roamed the world, working for a variety of mining concerns. For example, he was involved in gold and tin mining in the Federated Malay States (1889-1892), visited a Japanese copper mine (1892), joined the Lisbon Berlyn Mining Company in Lydenburg, Transvaal (1893), worked on the Witwatersrand (1894-1897), visited the Ural gold fields (1898), did exploration work in Borneo (Indonesia), was involved in gold mining on the Indonesian island Celebes (1900-1901), explored for minerals in West Africa (1902), and worked as a mining engineer and gold mine manager at Bengkulu, on the island Sumatera, Indonesia (1902-1908). From 1909 to 1913 he worked as a consulting engineer in London. During the latter year he was appointed assistant professor of mining at the Royal School of Mines. In 1919 he was promoted to professor of mining, a post he held to his retirement in 1936.

Truscott was an honorary member and medallist of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (London), a Fellow of the Geological Society of London (FGS), and an associate of the Royal School of Mines. In 1902 he became an associate of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa and in 1904 was elected a member. Later he became an honorary life member of the society and in 1940 was still a corresponding member of its council. He became a member of the Geological Society of South Africa in 1910, but his membership lapsed during World War I (1914-1918).

Shortly after leaving South Africa in 1897 Truscott published The Witwatersrand goldfields, banket and mining practice (London, 1898, 495p), with expanded second and third editions following in 1902 and 1907 respectively. With Arthur Yates* he published two papers in the Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa: "A proposed method of treating sand residue dumps" (1905/6, Vol. 6) and "Notes on the use of the filter press for clarifying solutions" (1906/7, Vol. 7). In 1930 he attended the Empire Mining Congress held in South Africa, where he started the discussion on the problem of underground sampling, a discussion that has since become increasingly complex through the introduction of mathematical statistical methods. At this time the University of the Witwatersrand awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) degree in engineering. The most important of his other publications are A textbook of ore dressing (London, 1923, 680p) and Mine economics: Sampling - valuation - organization (London, 1937, 335p), the latter based on the lectures he delivered at the Royal School of Mines. In 1894 he married Mary E. Vaughan, with whom he had three daughters.

List of sources:
Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa. Proceedings, 1902-1903, Vol. 3, list of members; Journal, 1904/5, Vol. 5, Members; 1905/6, Vol. 6 and 1906/7, Vol. 7, papers by Truscott and Yates; 1940, Vol. 41(1), office bearers.

Geological Society of South Africa. Transactions (and Proceedings), 1915, Vol. 18, Members.

Goode, R.C.J. 75th Anniversary of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1969, Vol. 69, pp. 510-541.

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

University of the Witwatersrand. Honorary Graduates. http://www.wits.ac.za/alumni/alumnirecognition/3600/honorary_degrees.html

Who was who, Vol. 4, 3rd ed. London: Adam & Black, 1964.

Compiled by: C. Plug