Stanley, Robert Crooks

b. 1 August 1876 Little Falls, New Jersey, USA
d. 12 February 1951 USA
American mining engineer and metallurgist, originator of Monel Metal
Robert, the son of Thomas and Ada (Crooks) Stanley, helped to finance his early training at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, by working as a manual training instructor at Montclair High School. After graduating in mechanical engineering from Stevens in 1899, and as a mining engineer from the Columbia School of Mines in 1901, he accepted a two-year assignment from the S.S.White Dental Company to investigate platinum-bearing alluvial deposits in British Columbia. This introduced him to the International Nickel Company (Inco), which had been established on 29 March 1902 to amalgamate the major mining companies working the newly discovered cupro-nickel deposits at Sudbury, Ontario. Ambrose Monell, President of Inco, appointed Stanley as Assistant Superintendent of its American Nickel Works at Camden, near Philadelphia, in 1903. At the beginning of 1904 Stanley was General Superintendent of the Orford Refinery at Bayonne, New Jersey, where most of the output of the Sudbury mines was treated.
Copper and nickel were separated there from the bessemerized matte by the celebrated "tops and bottoms" process introduced thirteen years previously by R.M.Thompson. It soon occurred to Stanley that such a separation was not invariably required and that, by reducing directly the mixed matte, he could obtain a natural cupronickel alloy which would be ductile, corrosion resistant, and no more expensive to produce than pure copper or nickel. His first experiment, on 30 December 1904, was completely successful. A railway wagon full of bessemerized matte, low in iron, was calcined to oxide, reduced to metal with carbon, and finally desulphurized with magnesium. Ingots cast from this alloy were successfully forged to bars which contained 68 per cent nickel, 23 per cent copper and about 1 per cent iron. The new alloy, originally named after Ambrose Monell, was soon renamed Monel to satisfy trademark requirements. A total of 300,000 ft2 (27,870 m2) of this white, corrosion-resistant alloy was used to roof the Pennsylvania Railway Station in New York, and it also found extensive applications in marine work and chemical plant. Stanley greatly increased the output of the Orford Refinery during the First World War, and shortly after becoming President of the company in 1922, he established a new Research and Development Division headed initially by A.J.Wadham and then by Paul D. Merica, who at the US Bureau of Standards had first elucidated the mechanism of age-hardening in alloys. In the mid- 1920s a nickel-ore body of unprecedented size was identified at levels between 2,000 and 3,000 ft (600 and 900 m) below the Frood Mine in Ontario. This property was owned partially by Inco and partially by the Mond Nickel Company. Efficient exploitation required the combined economic resources of both companies. They merged on 1 January 1929, when Mond became part of International Nickel. Stanley remained President of the new company until February 1949 and was Chairman from 1937 until his death.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
American Society for Metals Gold Medal. Institute of Metals Platinum Medal 1948.
Further Reading
F.B.Howard-White, 1963, Nickel, London: Methuen (a historical review).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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