Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,950 pages of information and 233,606 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
William Henderson (1827-1881)
1881 Obituary 
Mr. WILLIAM HENDERSON, of Glasgow and Irvine, died in January last in London, while returning home from a visit to the mines of the Seville Sulphur and Copper Co. in Spain.
The deceased was born in 1827 at Westmuir, near Glasgow, and had been engaged for many years in the development and improvement of metallurgical processes. Next to his connection with the so-called "wet process" of copper extraction, Mr. Henderson will be chiefly remembered as the author of ferro-manganese.
Between the years 1860 and 1869, Mr. Henderson devoted much attention to the production of that alloy, and he was so satisfied of the possibility of meeting the wants of steelmakers by providing a supply of that compound, that he filed several patent specifications in reference to it within the period mentioned.
He received much active encouragement in his efforts to establish the manufacture of ferro-manganese on a satisfactory basis from Mr. (now Sir Henry) Bessemer; and the matter was prominently referred to by that gentleman in the paper which he read before the Mechanical Section of the British Association at the Birmingham meeting, held in 1865. As the source of his manganese, Mr. Henderson used carbonate of manganese, a by-product obtained in the manufacture of bleaching powder at St. Rollox Chemical Works, and he was able to produce a "ferro" containing from 25 to 30 per cent. of metallic manganese, which was undoubtedly a great result at such an early stage in the history of the manufacture of the compound.
His experiments eventually led to the manufacture being taken in hand as a practical industry by the Terre Noire Company, with results that are fully described in M. Gautier's paper on "The Uses of Ferro-Manganese " (Journal, No. I., 1876, p. 43). The manufacture of this alloy is now likewise successfully prosecuted in this country, in Austria, and in Germany.
The origin of the manufacture of the ferro-manganese has been described by Mr. Henderson himself (Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute, No. I., 1876, p. 58), and the circumstances that led to the adoption of that product in the manufacture of steel were on the same occasion dealt with by Sir Henry Bessemer. This was the only meeting of the Institute in which Mr. Henderson took part, although he had been a member from 1871 till the time of his death.
1881 Obituary