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British Industrial History

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William F. Ramsey

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William F. Ramsey (1872-1929)

1922 M.Inst.Met., M.F.S., etc., Chief Metallurgist and Eng. Chemist to Cammell, Laird and Co., Ltd., Birkenhead; b. 1872; s. of late Alexander Ramsay. Ed. Liverpool Inst. High Sch. Training: University Coll., Liverpool. Asst. to Prof. of Chemistry, Univ. Coll., Aberystwyth; Asst. Man. and Chemist, Gold, Silver and Copper Min. Co.; 25 years Chief Chemist, Cammell, Laird and Co., Ltd., Birkenhead. One of the pioneers of Eng. Chemistry and Metallurgy; closely associated with development of Electro-galvanizing and the Oil Process for concentrating Low-grade Ores; introduced a new High-Tensile Gun-metal and given much attention to Non-ferrous Metallurgy and Foundry Problems and to the corrosion of Metals and Alloys, Micrometallurgy, Physical Methods of testing Metals, etc., Lubrication. and Lubricants. Member of Committee, N.-Western Section, Inst. of Chemistry; Member Soc. of Chemical Industry (Member Committee, Liverpool Section). Publ. "Corrosion of High-speed Bronze Propellers," "Corrosion of Condenser Tubes," in Engineering; numerous communications to Tech. and Scientific Pubis. Address: Cammell, Laird and Co., Ltd., Birkenhead.

1929 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM RAMSAY died on January 9, 1929, in a London nursing home, after a very short illness, in his fifty-ninth year.

Born of Scottish parents, he received his early education at Liverpool Institute. He studied chemistry at University College, Liverpool, under Professor Campbell Brown, and passed the examination for the Associateship of the Institute of Chemistry in 1890. He was then for three years assistant to Professor H. Lloyd Snape at the University College, Aberystwyth.

From 1893 to 1894 he was assistant manager and chemist at Dolgelley Copper Works, and in the following year manager and chemist in a soap and oil refinery.

In 1895 he was appointed chief chemist and metallurgist to Messrs Laird Brothers, Shipbuilders and Engineers, Birkenhead, and he continued with their successors, Messrs. Cammell Laird & Co., Ltd., until August 1927. During this period he made a careful study of marine problems, with particular reference to corrosion of propellers and condenser tubes. He was an early exponent of the electrolytic theory of corrosion, and contributed several papers to scientific journals.

In 1923 he contributed an interesting "Note on Petroleum" to the Society of Chemical Industry, dealing with the presence of minute quantities of nickel in natural petroleums. The results of this investigation supported Sabatier and Senderens' theory that natural petroleums were formed in the earth by catalytic hydrogenation process.

During the last two years he had worked on and patented, jointly with Mr. F. Grimshaw Martin, the process for producing "Chromar" condenser tubes - a process in which metallic chromium is deposited electrolytically on the inner circulating side of brass condenser tubes. This process marked a distinct advance in the problem of overcoming corrosion and in every way increasing the efficiency of such tubes.

He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry in 1905, and a member of the Institute of Metals on May 3, 1917.

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