Gerard Albert Muntz
Sir Gerard Albert Muntz, 2nd Baronet (1864-1927) of Muntz's Metal Co
A grandson of the founder of the firm, George Frederick Muntz
1864 Born on 27 November 1864 at Radford, Warwickshire
1910 Chairman of the Institute of Metals.
1927 Obituary 
Sir GERARD ALBERT MUNTZ, Bart., commenced his long service in the manufacture and study of non-ferrous metals when he entered, in 1883, the French Walls Works at Birmingham of Messrs. Muntz's Metal Company, at the age of 19.
He eventually became managing director in 1896 and consultant director in 1921.
His greatest services to engineering were rendered in the field of research, to which he devoted the greater part of his life. He was the author of a number of scientific papers in which he set forth the results of his investigations into the corrosion of non-ferrous metals, and especially of brass condenser tubes, and into the sheathing of wooden vessels under the action of sea-water.
Sir Gerard was largely instrumental in the formation of the Institute of Metals of which he was president in 1910-1911. He was also chairman of the important Corrosion Committee and of several trade associations.
He became a member of Council of the British Non-ferrous Metals Research Association, and in 1926 was awarded the Thomas Turner Gold Medal of the University of Birmingham in recognition of "exceptional merit in the service of metallurgy."
During the War he acted as chairman of Committees of the Board of Trade and Department of Scientific and Industrial Research dealing with metallurgical problems. Sir Gerard was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and in his spare time wrote several novels.
He became a Member of the Institution in 1910 and a Member of Council in 1912, and from 1921 to 1924 he was Vice-President. Owing to ill-health he resigned his position in 1925, but two years later he was re-elected Vice-President.
His death occurred suddenly, on the day following a Council Meeting which he had attended, on 22nd October 1927.
1927 Obituary 
Sir GERARD ALBERT MUNTZ, Bart., who died suddenly at his home, Tiddington House, near Stratford-on-Avon, on October 22, 1927, was the second President of the Institute of Metals (1910-1912). He was an Original Member, and was largely instrumental in the formation of the Institute. Born on November 27, 1864, he was the eldest son of the late Sir Philip Albert Muntz, M.P., the first baronet, and grandson of George Frederick Muntz, who in 1832 originated the now well-known alloy which bears the family name.
He was educated at Harrow, Neuwied-am-Rhein, and King's College, afterwards devoting himself to the metal industry. From 1896 to 1921 he was managing director of Muntz's Metal Company, of which company he acted as consultant director up to the time of his death. He made an exhaustive study of the properties of copper, copper alloys, and other non-ferrous metals, and also investigated the chemical and electrolytic action of sea-water on sheathing and condenser tubes.
In 1909, when Vice-President, he contributed a paper on "The Relation between Science and Practice, and its Bearing on the Utility of the Institute of Metals." In this paper he subdivided his subject under the following heads : (a) the correlation of the manufacturer, scientist, and engineer; (b) the redirection of science to practical form (c) the determination of the causes of failure and (d) the classification of knowledge regarding non-ferrous metals. The paper attracted much attention. In his first Presidential Address Sir Gerard discussed the development of the Institute, but on the second occasion his subject was "The Reason Why - the Quest of the Institute of Metals." He was Chairman of the Corrosion Committee of the Institute when it was first formed in 1910, and was throughout his active life intimately connected with research work on the subject of corrosion. He was particularly interested in the corrosion and protection of brass condenser tubes, and at the Annual Meeting of the Institute of Metals, held in London on March 8, 1922, spoke at some length, during the discussion on the report of the investigators, giving the point of view of the tube maker. In spite of a strenuous life in connection with his own business and researches, Sir Gerard found time to extend his activities in other directions. He was Chairman of the Brass and Copper Tube Association from 1911 to 1921, and Chairman of the Associated Manufacturers of Brass and Copper Tube of Great Britain.
From 1921 he was also a consultant director of Elliott's Metal Company, Ltd., of Selly Oak, Birmingham. He became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1910, and held the office of Vice-President from 1919 to 1925, when he retired owing to ill-health. Last year he was re-elected Vice-President. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of Council of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and from 1915 to 1917 Chairman of the Non-Ferrous Trades Committee. During the war he was Chairman of the Non-Ferrous Metals Committee (Board of Trade) in 1916 and 1917, and Chairman of the Metallurgical Committee (Ferrous and Non-Ferrous), Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, from 1916 to 1919. One of the founders, in 1920, of the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association, he was an Original Member of Council. Later he became Chairman, and at the time of his death was Vice-President.
He was a member of the Copper, Zinc, and Lead Sectional Committees of the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau. In 1926 he was awarded the Thomas Turner Gold Medal at the University of Birmingham in recognition of "Exceptional Merit in the Service of Metallurgy." He was tall man, of fine presence, and a noticeable figure at the meetings of the Institute, though his increasing deafness prevented him from taking much part in discussions in recent years. He was of a very cheerful disposition, and his bluff and hearty' manner and kindly and wise counsel made him popular among his fellow metallurgists and engineers. He had always an encouraging and helpful word for the young men with whom he came into contact, and many a budding metallurgist received from him sympathetic and practical advice.
For recreation he had a workshop fitted up at his house, and he was expert in the me of tools, while his literary tastes are indicated by the novel he wrote in 1923, entitled "Out of the Ages." It was published (by L. Parsons, London) under the family nom-de-plume of Devereux Pryce, and included a vivid description of travel in Egypt, a country which he had never visited.
THE LATE SIR GERARD A. MUNTZ, BART.
The news of the sudden death of Sir Gerard Albert Muntz, Bart., at his home, Tiddington House, near Stratford-on-Avon, on October 22 last, will be received with great regret by engineers and metallurgists throughout the world. Sir Gerard, who had been for many years managing director of Messrs. Muntz’s Metal Company, Limited, and had latterly been consultant director of the firm, was born on November 27, 1864, at Radford, Leamington, Warwickshire. He was the eldest son of the late Sir Philip Albert Muntz, M.P., the first baronet, and grandson of Mr. George Frederick Muntz, who, in 1832, originated the now well-known 60 : 40 brass, which bears the family name.
Of Polish origin, and at one time members of the aristocracy of that country, the Muntz family migrated to France probably during the eighteenth century. They were driven from their adopted country, as a result of the great revolution of 1789, and a member of the family, Peter Frederick Muntz, settled in Amsterdam and began business as a merchant; subsequently he removed to Birmingham. The long-continued wars on the Continent, and the unsettled state of Europe generally, impaired the prosperity of his business; and, having decided to strike out into a new sphere, he purchased a small brass works in Water-street, Birmingham. In 1809 this concern passed into the hands of his eldest son, George Frederick Muntz, who, from these small beginnings, laid the foundations of the great firm now known as Messrs. Muntz’s Metal Company, Limited.
Sir Gerard, who succeeded to the baronetcy upon his father’s death in 1908, received his education partly in this country, and partly in Germany. He entered Harrow School in 1879, when fifteen years of age, and a year later proceeded to Victoria College,
Neuwied-am-Rhein, where he remained for some twelve months. He returned to this country in 1881, and continued his studies at the Applied Science Department of King’s College, London. He devoted his attention to mechanics, machine drawing, electricity and chemistry, but left in 1883, before completing the course of instruction, and entered upon an apprenticeship of six years in the works of Messrs. Muntz’s Metal Company at French Walls, near Birmingham. During this period of training he was engaged upon practical work in all the departments of the firm, and founded a laboratory at the French Walls works. In 1889 he became assistant general manager and works manager of the company, a position he continued to occupy until 1896, when he was appointed general manager and joint managing director of the firm. During the years from 1890 to 1897 he was personally responsible for the installation and subsequent working of all the machinery and mechanical appliances at the French Walls works. In 1908 he became sole managing director of the company; he retired from this position in 1921, and was appointed consultant director of the firm. He was also a director of Messrs. Elliott’s Metal Company, Limited; Messrs. Hughes Stubbs, Limited; and Messrs. William Cooper and Goode, Limited.
A foundation member of the Institute of Metals, and a vice-president from 1909 to 1910, he was the second president of that body, and held office from 1910 to 1912. It will be of interest to remind our readers that the Institute of Metals was formally constituted on June 10, 1908, at a meeting held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London, and during the course of which the late Sir William Henry White was elected president. The new institute was intended to fill a position, in the non-ferrous metal world, identical with that held by the Iron and Steel Institute in the ferrous metal industry. The first general meeting of the members was held at Birmingham, on November 11, 1908. Sir Gerard Muntz, who was a member of the Council of the new body, was also a prominent member of the reception committee at this meeting. The first annual general meeting of the Institute was held in London on January 19 and 20, 1909, and one of the papers presented for discussion was by Sir Gerard. Owing to the death of his father, however, he was unable to be present, and the paper was read by the secretary. The contribution was entitled, “ The Relation between Science and Practice,” and dealt with the great possibilities of usefulness of the Institute of Metals in the investigation and elucidation of problems connected with the manufacture and application of non-ferrous metals. The paper was discussed at great length by the members present. Sir Gerard remained an enthusiastic member of the Institute to the very end, and was always closely associated with all its activities.
He was chairman of the Corrosion Committee of the Institute of Metals when it was first formed in 1910, and was, throughout his active life, intimately connected with research work on the subject of corrosion. He was particularly interested in the corrosion and protection of brass condenser tubes, and, at the annual meeting of the Institute of Metals, held in London, on March 8, 1922, spoke at some length during thediscussion on the pamphlet-report by Dr. G. D. Bengough, dealing with this subject. Delivered in his bluff and direct manner, this speech was characteristic of Sir Gerard, and, in his concluding remarks, he gave the point of view of the tube maker in a very definite way. He stated that the investigation under discussion had shown that, out of eighteen possible cases of failure of condenser tubes, only four were attributable to any fault in the tube ; the remaining fourteen lay on the shoulders of the user. Hitherto, all condenser failures had been laid to the blame of the unfortunate tube maker, who had thus, over and over again, been heavily penalised for something entirely beyond his control. Sir Gerard was elected a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1910, and became a member of the Council of the Institution in December, 1912. He was appointed a vice-president in February, 1921, and retired from that position in February, 1925 ; he served for many years on the Alloys Research Committee of the Institution.
During the European war, and the years immediately following it, Sir Gerard was called upon to fill many important appointments. He was chairman of the Non-Ferrous Metal Committee of the Board of Trade from 1916 to 1917, and chairman of the Metallurgical Committee (Ferrous and Non-Ferrous) of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research from 1916 to 1919. In 1920, he was asked to become a member of the Copper, Zinc, and Lead Sectional Committees of the Imperial Mineral Resources Bureau. He had been a member of the Council of the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association since its formation in 1920, and, in addition to acting as vice-president for some years, served on several of its sub-committees.
At this juncture, it is interesting to recall that, in 1926, he was awarded the Thomas Turner Gold Medal, by the authorities of the University of Birmingham, in recognition of “ Exceptional merit in the service of metallurgy.” He was no less active in other than purely technical spheres, haring held the office of chairman of the Associated Manufacturers of Brass and Copper Tubes of Great Britain. He also acted as chairman of the Brass and Copper Tube Association from 1911 until 1921. and was for some time a member of the Council of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
Sir Gerard had a serious heart attack in April, 1924, and was confined to his room for some months afterwards. Although, eventually, he recovered sufficiently to resume some of his activities, he never became quite his old self again; moreover, his increasing deafness was a source of great trouble to him. Notwithstanding his physical disabilities, he frequently attended the meetings of the technical institutions of which he was a member ; he was, in fact, present at the meeting of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, held at the London headquarters, at Storey’s-gate, on Friday last, October 21. He often took part in the discussions, and remained a straightforward and somewhat forcible speaker to the end. His tall form and his bluff and hearty manner will long be remembered by all those with whom he came into contact.
Sources of Information
- Mechanical Engineer records
- parish records
- 1927 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
- 1927 Institute of Metals: Obituaries
- Engineering 1927/10/28