Monell, Ambrose

SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
b. 1874 New York, USA
d. 2 May 1921 Beacon, New York, USA
American metallurgist who gave his name to a successful nickel-copper alloy.
After graduating from Columbia University in 1896. Monell became a metallurgical engineer to the Carnegie Steel Company, rising in six years to be Assistant to the President. In 1900, while Manager of the company's open-hearth steelworks at Pittsburg, he patented a procedure for making high-carbon steel in basic conditions on the hearth of a fixed/stationary furnace; the method was intended to refine pig-iron containing substantial proportions of phosphorus and to do so relatively quickly. The process was introduced at the Homestead Works of the Carnegie Steel Company in February 1900, where it continued in use for some years. In April 1902 Monell was among those who launched the International Nickel Company of New Jersey in order to bring together a number of existing nickel interests; he became the new company's President. In 1904–5, members of the company's metallurgical staff produced an alloy of about 70 parts nickel and 30 copper which seemed to show great commercial promise on account of its high resistance to corrosion and its good appearance. Monell agreed to the suggestion that the new alloy should be given his name; for commercial reasons it was marketed as "Monel metal". In 1917, following the entry of the USA into the First World War, Monell was commissioned Colonel in the US Army (Aviation) for overseas service, relinquishing his presidency of the International Nickel Company but remaining as a director. At the time of his death he was also a director in several other companies in the USA.
1900, British patent no. 5506 (taken out by O. Imray on behalf of Monell).
Monell insinuated an account of his steel-making procedure at a meeting of the Iron and Steel Institute held in London and reported in The Journal of the Iron and Steel
Institute (1900) 1:71–80; some of the comments made by other speakers, particularly B.Talbot, were adverse. The following year (1901) Monell produced a general historical review: "A summary of development in open-hearth steel", Iron Trade
Review 14(14 November):39–47.
Further Reading
A.J.Wadhams, 1931, "The story of the nickel industry", Metals and Alloys 2(3):166–75 (mentions Monell among many others, and includes a portrait (p. 170)).

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

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