S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Wartenweiler, Mr Frederick (metallurgy)

Born: 12 July 1876, Switzerland.
Died: 24 August 1968, Tzaneen, Limpopo, South Africa.

Frederick (Fred) Wartenweiler, metallurgist, climbed in the Alps as a young man. He came to the Witwatersrand before or in 1913, for in that year he was elected as a member of the council of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa and read a paper entitled 'Description of electric parting apparatus' at one of its meetings. In 1923 he was assistant consulting metallurgist to the Central Mining Group of Companies on the Witwatersrand. At that time he initiated an investigation into the mineral constituents of gold ore concentrates, which were found to contain a relatively large amount of osmiridium and a radioactive mineral later identified as a variety of uraninite. In 1927 he visited various mines and steelworks in Canada and the United States.

Wartenweiler published various papers on the Witwatersrand gold ores and concentrates, for example, 'Flotation concentration experiments on a Transvaal gold ore' (South African Mining Journal, 1916, Vol. 17, pp. 87-90), 'Distribution of gold in banket ore classified products, with reference to milling and cyaniding operations' (Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1921, Vol. 21, pp. 217-222), 'A research to determine the size of the gold particles in the Witwatersrand banket ore' (as co-author of K.L. Graham; Ibid, 1924, Vol. 24, pp;. 285-292), and 'Flotation of banket sands' (as co-author of H.R. Adam*; Ibid, 1937, Vol. 37, pp. 108-).

Wartenweiler was one of the leading metallurgists of the Witwatersrand mining industry. He was elected president of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa for 1921/2 and an honorary life member of its successor, the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, in 1959. Shortly after World War II (1939-1945) he was a member of the South African Uranium Research Committee, chaired by Dr B.F.J. Schonland, to investigate how uranium could be extracted from the Witwatersrand gold ores without interfering with gold production.

In November 1911 he married Laura Annie Simons. He later married Jane L. Moffat, but had no children. He bequeathed money to the University of the Witwatersrand, with the result that the university's Wartenweiler Library was named after him. His work-related photo albums are kept in the Historical Papers section of the university's Cullen Library.


List of sources:

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

Google Scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za

Hall, A.L. A bibliography of South African geology. Pretoria: Geological Survey, Memoirs No. 18 (1922) and 25 (1927).

Identity number. http://www.identitynumber.org Go to Ancestry, then Old marriage records, select W and find Wartenweiler.

Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1913/4, Vol. 14, List of officers, and paper by Wartenweiler; 1937, Vol. 37, paper by Wartenweiler; 1940, Vol. 41(1), Past presidents.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 8787/68. Death notice, Frederick Wartenweiler.

Shorten, J.R. The Johannesburg saga. John R. Shorten, 1970.

Taverner, L. An historical review of the events and developments culminating in the construction of plants for the recovery of uranium from gold ore residues. Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1956, Vol. 57, pp. 125-143.

The men behind the names of buildings at Wits University. Wits Vuvuzela, 21 April 2015. http://witsvuvuzela.com/2015/04/21

University of the Witwatersrand, Historical Papers. http://www.historicalpapers.wits.ac.za See collection No. A3210.


Compiled by: C. Plug


 [PRINTER VERSION] [BACK TO PREVIOUS PAGE]  [RETURN TO MAIN MENU]