Thomas K. Rose, chemist and assayer of the Royal Mint in London, studied at the Royal School of Mines, London, and the University of London. He became an associate of the former and was awarded the degree Doctor of Science (DSc) by the latter. From 1887 to 1890 he was engaged in the treatment of gold ores in Colorado, United States, and elsewhere. In the latter year he married Jenny Rundell, with whom he had a daughter.
Rose was employed at the Royal Mint in 1890 and remained there until 1926. In 1902 he was promoted to the institution's chemist and assayer. His first scientific paper, "Detection of gold in dilute solutions" was published in Chemical News in 1892 and was followed during the next eight years by eight further papers on the chemistry and metallurgy of gold, most of them published in the Journal of the Chemical Society. During that period he also wrote his most important book, The metallurgy of gold (London, 1894, 462p), of which the seventh edition appeared in 1937. A later work dealt with The precious metals comprising gold, silver and platinum (London, 1909, 295p).
Rose appears to have visited South Africa around 1905. In or just before that year he was elected an honorary member of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa from this time contributed three papers relating to metallurgical chemistry to the society's Journal: "On cupellation and parting in ore assaying" (1904/5, Vol. 5), "Notes on the assay of gold bullion" (1905/6, Vol. 6), and "The distribution of the gold produced on the Rand" (1908/9, Vol. 9). Years later, in 1918-1919, he reported to the South African government on the cost of erecting a gold refinery in South Africa.
Rose became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1894. He was elected president of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (London) for 1915/6 and received its gold medal in 1921. In 1916 he served as vice-president of the Institute of Metals. He was knighted in 1914, and was the author of the Report of the Tin and Tungsten Research Board (London, 1922), published by the British Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. His last know address was in Hindhead, Surrey.