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William Hastings Bassett

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William Hastings Bassett (c1868-1934)

1934 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM HASTINGS BASSETT, B.S., newly elected President of the American Society for Testing Materials, died at his home in Cheshire, Conn., U.S.A., on July 21, 1934, at the age of 66.

A pioneer metallurgist in the non-ferrous metal industry, and directly concerned with many of its technological advances, Mr. Bassett was metallurgical manager of The American Brass Company, Waterbury. Mr. Bassett's early and sustained work in the American copper and brass industry probably did more than that of any other to place the industry on a scientific and technical basis. He introduced in the United States the use of microscopy in the metallurgy of non-ferrous metals and was among the first to apply the spectroscope to routine work in the non-ferrous industry. In 1925 he received the James Douglas Medal "for constructive research in copper and brass and other non-ferrous metals and their alloys and for his contributions to the establishment of the high standards of quality."

In June, after serving for two years as Vice-President, he was elected President of the American Society for Testing Materials, with which he had been connected since 1903. As a personal member and the official representative of his company, he participated actively in the work of a number of the Society's committees. He took a leading part in the organization in 1909 of the first two A.S.T.M. standing committees in the non-ferrous field, B-1 on copper wire and B-2 on non-ferrous metals and alloys, and served continuously on these committees until his death. He served as a member of the Society's Executive Committee in 1916-1918.

He always took a keen interest in advancing the knowledge of the properties of non-ferrous metals and sup- ported actively a number of research and standardization projects in the Society. Mr. Bassett received the B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Class of 1891. He was chemist and superintendent of the Popes Island Manufacturing Company, New Bedford, for five years; then chief chemist, Newark Works, New Jersey Zinc Company.

After serving as chemist of the Coe Brass Manufacturing Company in 1902, he became chief chemist and metallurgist of The American Brass Company in 1903; technical superintendent and metallurgist in 1912, and in 1930 was appointed to his present office. During the World War he was active on the Committee on Materials for Airplane Construction, in Washington.

He was a Past-President of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers (1930) and a former director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Other societies of which he was a member included the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American Electrochemical Society, the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America, the American Geographical Society, the Franklin Institute, and the Society of Chemical Industry.

Mr. Bassett was elected a member of the Institute of Metals on May 24, 1910.

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