Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Cassel Gold Extracting Co

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1884 The company was registered on 15 December to acquire certain patent rights of Mr. H. R. Cassel by Charles Tennant and other Glasgow businessmen, to exploit the gold extracting process developed by Henry Renner Cassel of New York.

1886 When Cassel secretly disposed of his shares, the board commissioned John Stewart MacArthur (1857-1920), a chemist employed by the Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Co., to investigate the viability of Cassel's process. He demonstrated that the process, which employed common salt as the extracting agent, was worthless.

Within a year, however, MacArthur had developed his own process in collaboration with brothers R. W. and W. Forrest, physicians in Glasgow. The MacArthur-Forrest process used sodium or potassium cyanide as the extracting agent. As a result the level of gold recoverable was increased from 55 per cent to 95 per cent.

The Cassel Co. obtained the patents and out of necessity began the manufacture of cyanides at Dennistoun, Glasgow.

1893 The rights to the Beilby process for potassium cyanide were purchased, and production was moved to Maryhill, Glasgow.

1900 The position of the Cassel Co. in this field was strengthened by the acquisition of the British rights to Hamilton Young Castner's process for the manufacture of sodium cyanide from metallic sodium.

1906 The company was renamed the Cassel Cyanide Co. Ltd.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Archives of the British chemical industry, 1750-1914: a handlist. By Peter J. T. Morris and Colin A. Russell. Edited by John Graham Smith. 1988.