John Edward Stead
Dr. John Edward Stead (1851-1923), metallurgist
1851 Born at Howden-on-Tyne
1894. President of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers.
1923 October 31st. Died in his seventy-third year.
1923 Obituary 
JOHN EDWARD STEAD, D.Sc., D.Met., F.R.S., F.I.C., was born at Howden-on-Tyne on 17th October 1851, and belonged to a notable family. He was brother of the late Mr. W. T. Stead, the renowned journalist, and of the Rev. F. Herbert Stead, for many years Principal of the Browning Hall Settlement, Walworth.
After being educated privately, he studied analytical chemistry under Mr. John Pattinson, of Newcastle, and on the completion of his apprenticeship he became works chemist at Hebburn.
An appointment with Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan and Co., Ltd., first at Manchester and then at Middlesbrough, enabled him to become thoroughly acquainted with the manufacture of iron and steel, and the part which he had since played in making Tees-side the centre of industrial progress stands out as a monument to his labour.
At the age of twenty-five Mr. Stead entered into partnership with his first employer, and when the latter retired in 1905, Mr. H. Frankland, F.I.C., joined Mr. Stead, the name of the firm, Pattison and Stead, being retained.
Metallographic research attracted his attention in 1893. The heat-tinting method first proposed by Martens was developed by him to a high degree of perfection, more especially for the purpose of revealing the location of the phosphide-holding areas in cast-iron, and his work on the micro-structure and constitution of metallic alloys has materially enlarged the general knowledge of these important products.
For many years he was a Member of the Alloys Research Committee of this Institution, of which lie was elected an Associate in 1892, and became a Companion in 1922. He was President of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers in 1895-6, was a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry, and in 1903 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Leeds in 1911, a similar degree from the Victoria University of Manchester in 1914, and in 1912 the University of Sheffield conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Metallurgy.
The climax of his technical labours was reached when he was elected President of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1920, from which Society he had received the Bessemer Medal as far back as 1901. Dr. Stead was a Justice of the Peace for the North Riding, and was Borough Analyst under the Food and Drugs Act; Analyst under the Fertilizers and Feeding Stuffs Act, etc.
His death took place after a prolonged illness at his residence in Redcar on 31st October 1923, at the age of seventy-two.
1923 Obituary 
As we go to press we hear with deep regret of the death at Everdon, Coatham, Redcar, on Wednesday of Dr. J. E. Stead, F.R.S. the famous scientist and metallurgist, in his seventy-third year. Dr. Stead was a brother of the late Mr. W. T. Stead, of the Review of Reviews, who lost his life in the sinking of the Titanic. He was born at Howden-on-Tyne, where his father was a Congregational minister, was educated privately, and began his industrial career as an analytical chemist under the late Mr John Pattinson of Newcastle-on-Tyne...[ More].
1923/24 Obituary 
Dr. John Edward Stead, the distinguished metallurgist, was born in 1851 at Howden-on-Tyne, and after completing his apprenticeship was appointed chemist to the Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Co in the Hebburn Works, and subsequently to Bolckow, Vaughan and Co at Gorton and then Middlesbrough, where he laid the foundation of his great knowledge of iron and steel production.
In 1876 he entered into partnership with his first employer, Mr. Pattinson, and established the Metallurgical Laboratory at Middlesbrough which subsequently became world-famous.
Dr. Stead filled with distinction many important offices in the scientific world, including those of President of the Iron and Steel Institute and President of the Chemists' Section of the British Association, and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1903.
He rendered valuable assistance to the Steel Research Committee daring its researches into the physical properties of the Standard Automobile Steels, and was elected a Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers in 1917.
He died on 31st October, 1923, in his seventy-third year.
1923 Obituary 
JOHN EDWARD STEAD, J,P., D.Sc. (Sheff.), Hon. D.Sc. (Leeds, Manch.), Hon. D.Met. (Sheff.), F.R.S., died at his residence, Everdon, Redcar, on October 31, 1923.
Dr. Stead was born on October 17, 1851, at Howden-on-Tyne, the son of the late Rev. W. Stead, a Free Church minister, and belonged to a distinguished family. He was educated privately, and then, while quite young, he became an apprentice in analytical chemistry under Mr. John Pattinson of Newcastle.
On the completion of hie apprenticeship he became works chemist at the Hebburn Works of the Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Co.
Later he held the appointment of analytical chemist with Messrs. Bolckow, Vaughan & Co., Ltd., first at Manchester and afterwards at Middlesbrough, which gave him an opportunity of obtaining a thorough knowledge of the manufacture of iron and steel.
At twenty-five years of age he entered into partnership with his first employer, the firm having meanwhile taken the name of Pattinson & Stead. He had a very successful business career, and many pupils were attracted to his laboratory, owing to his high standing as a chemist and metallurgist. Education of the young workers of the country was a subject in which he was keenly interested. He held the office of borough analyst.
A large number of inventions and ideas due to his genius have enriched metallurgical knowledge. Metallographical research attracted his attention in 1893, and he devised many improvements, especially in the direction of reducing the time required for polishing sections. Marten's heat-tinting method was developed by him, and applied with much success to the structure of cast iron.
Dr. Stead's papers dealing with crystalline structure and brittleness caused by annealing have added much to the knowledge of iron and steel, and his work on the microstructure and constitution of alloys has been of great value. In collaboration with the late M. Felix Osmond, he wrote a book on the microscopic analysis of metals. Dr. Stead was President of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers in 1895-96, and in 1901 he received the Bessemer Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry, of which body he was a Member of Council, 1906-1909 ; a Fellow of the Chemical Society, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1903.
In 1910 Sheffield University conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Metallurgy, and in 1912 the University of Leeds - and in 1914 the University of Manchester - conferred on him the degree honoris cause of Doctor of Science. He was President of the Chemistry section of the British Association in 1910, and in 1920 was made President of the Iron and Steel Institute. Dr. Stead was an original member of the Institute of Metals, before which he read two papers on the microstructure and constitution of alloys, besides making valuable contributions to discussions. His cheerful, kindly presence will be very much missed from scientific meetings.— C. M. S. S.
1923 Obituary 
JOHN EDWARD STEAD, D.Sc., D.Met., F.R.S., Past-President, died at his residence at Redcar on October 31, 1923.
Dr. Stead came of a highly gifted family. He was a son of the late Rev. W. Stead, a minister of the Free Church, and was born at Howden-on-Tyne in 1851, being the younger brother of the celebrated W. T. Stead, editor of the Review of Reviews, who lost his life in the wreck of the Titanic.
Young Stead was educated privately, and afterwards attended evening courses at Owens College, Manchester. On completion of his studies he served an apprenticeship in an iron and steel works in the Middlesbrough district, gaining a practical insight into the smelting of iron and the manufacture of steel.
At the age of nineteen he entered the service of Mr. John Pattinson, a consulting chemist and metallurgist at Newcastle-on-Tyne, under whom he was able to study analytical chemistry. He then accepted the post as analytical chemist to the Tharsis Sulphur and Copper Co., at their Hebburn Works.
Thence he went to Manchester to take an appointment as analytical chemist to Bolckow, Vaughan & Co., at their Gorton. Works, and later was transferred to a similar position at their Middlesbrough Works, where he worked under the direction of the late Mr. Edward Williams.
In 1876 he entered into partnership with his first employer, Mr. Pattinson, and together they established the wellknown Middlesbrough firm of analytical chemists, under the name of Pattinson & Stead.
Mr. Pattinson retired in 1905, and Stead then took into partnership his chief assistant, Mr. H. Frankland, the name of the firm remaining unaltered. His reputation as a chemist and metallurgist attracted to his laboratory numerous ambitious young men as pupils, most of whom to-day are holding responsible positions in metallurgical establishments throughout the world.
Public appointments were also offered him, and he became Borough Analyst for Middlesbrough, and Chemist to the Cleveland Agricultural Society, but to take an active part in public affairs was not greatly to his taste. Nevertheless, he accepted appointment as a magistrate of the North Riding, in which office he faithfully discharged his duties. He was also a member of the Guisborough Board of Guardians, and a Governor of the Grammar School at Coatham, near Redcar, where he resided.
Dr. Stead's principal interest lay in metallurgical research work, and his investigations resulted in the solution of many obscure problems in the manufacture of iron and steel. A complete record of his studies and discoveries and their practical application would probably form a large part of the history of the development of the iron and steel industry during the last four decades.
In the course of forty-six years he published at least eighty papers, in which he covered the widest range of subjects in the metallurgy of iron and steel. One of the most important practical results of his observations may be said to be the "after-blow" in the basic-Bessemer process. He was the first to explain correctly what takes place at that stage of the operations, namely, that phosphorus is removed during the after-blow, but not until then, by iron oxide. Thomas and Gilchrist, the discoverers of the basic process, challenged this explanation, but in the next year they accepted it, and hastened to take out letters patent for the "after-blow." In his Presidential Address to the Institute in 1920, Dr. Stead took occasion to disclaim any credit for the discovery of the "after-blow," saying that his conclusion that it was fundamentally necessary for the success of the process was based mainly on Thomas and Gilchrist's own experiments. At all events, the realisation of the importance of the "after-blow" as suggested by Dr. Stead constituted the turning-point in the success of the basic-Bessemer process - a process which, as it turned out, favoured the development of the German iron industry much more than the iron industry of the country where the process was invented, due mainly to the difference in the character of the ores available in each country.
Dr. Stead was one of the first in this country to realise the importance of Sorby's investigations, which formed the foundation of the science of metallography. Dr. Stead's contributions to the knowledge of the crystallisation phenomena in iron and steel, and his observations on the segregatory and migratory habits of solids in alloys, were such that he came to be regarded as one of the chief authorities in the world on these subjects. He made important improvements in the technique of microscopic metallography, and his method of heat-tinting specimens by oxidation became an accepted method in the micro-analysis of steel.
In collaboration with the late Mr. Osmond he wrote a book on the "Microscopic Analysis of Metals," dealing with the subject from the practical point of view. In the preface to the second edition, published after the death of Osmond, Dr. Stead stated that he desired to preserve the book in its original form, so that it might form an historical monument to the memory of Osmond.
On the question of welding Dr. Stead enunciated a law, according to which true welding is effected when two pieces of metal become one single piece by the growth of the crystals into each other, and by their over-stepping what was previously the line of demarcation between the two original pieces. He made extensive studies on grain growth and brittleness, and among other things devised a test for alternate bending, together with a machine for carrying out the test. His reagents for phosphorus in macro-etching have given most valuable results, and are extensively used in laboratories and works. In recognition of this Sauveur has given the name of "Steadite " to a very distinctive occurrence in grey pig irons, the binary eutectic of iron, and Fe5P.
Dr. Stead was a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry, and a Member of Council, and was for many years an examiner in iron and steel metallurgy to the City and Guilds of London Institute. He was also a Fellow of the Chemical Society, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1903. On the occasion of the visit of the American Institute of Mining Engineers to this country in 1906, he, and Sir Robert Hadfield, were both elected Honorary Life Members of the Institute in recognition of their distinguished services in the advancement of metallurgy. In 1912, on the occasion of the Autumn Meeting of the Iron and Steel Institute in Leeds, the Court of Leeds University conferred upon Dr. Stead the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
In 1913 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Metallurgy of the University of Sheffield, and in the following year the honorary degree of Doctor of Science of the Victoria University, Manchester, was conferred upon him. In 1910 he acted as President of the Chemistry Section of the British Association, and he was a Past-President of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers. Dr. Stead became a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1873; he was elected a Member of Council in 1895, a Vice-President in 1910, and President in 1920. He was a devoted attendant of the meetings of the Institute, his presence always lending particular interest to the discussions of papers. His great interest in the Institute was maintained to the last, and he continued to attend the meetings until prevented by his final illness from leaving home. The Bessemer Gold Medal of the Institute was awarded to him in 1801 in recognition of his eminence as a metallurgist, and of the value of his research work and discoveries in the field of metallurgy, particularly that of iron and steel.
Dr. Stead was always an insistent advocate of higher education and technical training for the iron and steel worker. He was a firm believer in the intelligence and capacity of the workmen, and encouraged them to take every opportunity to acquire a knowledge of the industries in which they were engaged. His influence had much to do with the late Mr. Andrew Carnegie's decision to found the Carnegie Research Scholarships of the Institute for the encouragement of research among young students in the metallurgy of iron and steel. In his Presidental Address to the Institute, Dr. Stead traced the development of the industry in the preceding half century, and pleaded for the promotion of scientific research as the foundation of progress and industrial prosperity. One of his dearest ambitions was realised in the opening of the Cleveland Technical Institute, for the establishment of which he worked unsparingly.
Dr. Stead was held in the highest esteem by all who knew him, not only for his scientific attainments, which placed him in the first rank of the metallurgists of the world, but for his transparent honesty of purpose, and for a charm of manner which endeared him to all with whom he came in contact, and won for him innumerable friends in this country, on the Continent, and in the United States. Apart from his scientific pursuits, he was a man of wide culture, and found recreation in music and literature, in both of which he was widely versed. The Iron and Steel Institute is specially indebted to Dr. Stead, who enriched the Proceedings with many original memoirs and contributions to discussions. The following list of the papers which he read before the Institute will convey some idea of the vast range of his work.
LIST OF PAPERS PRESENTED TO THE INSTITUTE BY DR. JOHN EDWARD STEAD.
- " An Improved Apparatus designed for the Analysis of Blast-Furnace and Other Gases," 1880, p. 68.
- " A New Method for the Estimation of Minute Quantities of Carbon, and a New Form of Chromometer," 1883, p. 213.
- " Improvements in Apparatus for Gas Analysis," 1884, p. 183.
- " The Elimination of Sulphur from Iron," 1892, No. II. p. 223, and 1893, No. I. p. 48.
- " Methods of Determining Chromium, with Notes on the Distribution of Chromium in British Irons," 1893, No. I. p. 153.
- " Methods of preparing Polished Surfaces of Iron and Steel for Microscopic Examination," 1894, No. I. p. 292.
- " The Effect of Arsenic on Steel," 1895, No. I. p. 77.
- " Microscopic Accessories for Metallographers," 1897, No. I. p. 42.
- " The Crystalline Structure of Iron and Steel," 1898, No. I. p. 145.
- " Brittleness produced in Soft Steel by Annealing," 1898, No. II. p. 137.
- " Iron and Phosphorus," 1900, No. II. p. 60,
- " Crystals of Carbo-Silicide of Manganese and Iron," 1901, No. I. p. 79.
- " Alloys of Copper and Iron," 1901, No. II. p. 104.
- " The Alleged Cementation of Iron by Silicon," 1903, No. I. p. 271.
- " A Workshop Microscope," 1908, No. III. p. 22.
- " Notes on the Welding up of Blowholes and Cavities in Steel Ingots," 1911, No. I. p. 54, and 1912, No. I. p. 104.
- " New Method for the Determination of Critical Points Arl, Acl," 1913, No. II. p. 399.
- " Iron, Carbon, and Phosphorus," 1915, No. I. p. 140, and 1918, No. I. p. 389.
- " The Detection of Burning in Steel," 1915, No. I. p. 398.
- " Influence of some Elements on the Mechanical Properties of Steel," 1916, No. II. p. 5.
- " Notes on Nickel Steel Scale and on the Reduction of Solid Nickel and Copper Oxides by Solid Iron," 1916, No. II. p. 243.
- " Notes on the Effect of Blast-Furnace Gases on Wrought Iron," 1916, No. II. p. 249.
- " Blast-Furnace Bears," 1918, No. I. p. 157.
- " Inclusions in Steel and Ferrite lines," 1918, No. I. p. 287.
- " Presidential Address," 1920, No. I. p. 33.
- " Solid Solution of Oxygen in Iron," 1921, No. I. p. 271.
- J. PATTINSON and J. E. STEAD. " Behaviour of Arsenic in Ores and Metal during Smelting and Purification Processes," 1888, No. I. p. 171.
- J. E. STEAD and C. H. RIDSDALE. " Basic Slag : its Formation, Constitution, and Application, with Special Reference to Crystals found therein," 1887, No. I. p. 222.
- J. E. STEAD and JOHN EVANS. The Influence of Copper on Steel Rails and Plates," 1901, No. I. p. 89.
- J. E. STEAD and F. H. WIGHAM. The Effect of Copper on Steel for Wire-Making," 1901, No. II. p. 122.
- J. E. STEAD and A. W. RICHARDS. " The Restoration of Dangerously Crystalline Steel by Heat Treatment," 1903, No. II. p. 119.
- J. E. STEAD and A. W. RICHARDS. " Sorbitic Steel Rails," 1903, No. II. p. 141.
- A. W. RICHARDS and J. E. STEAD. " Overheated Steel," 1905, No. II. p. 84.
- J. E. STEAD and H. C. H. CARPENTER. " The Crystallising Properties of Electro-Deposited Iron," 1913, No. II. p. 119.