Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Andrews, Thomas

ANDREWS, THOMAS (1847–1907), metallurgical chemist and ironmaster, born at Sheffield on 16 Feb. 1847, was only son of Thomas Andrews, proprietor of the old-established Wortley Iron Works, near that town, by his wife Mary Bolsover. Educated at Broombank school, Sheffield, and afterwards a student of chemistry under Dr. James Allan of Sheffield, Andrews early developed a faculty for original scientific research, which was fostered by the practical advice and guidance of his father. On the latter's death in 1871 he became head at Wortley.

Andrews's researches in metallurgy proved of great scientific and industrial value After prolonged investigation on a large scale he determined the resistance of metals to sudden concussion at varying temperatures down to zero (0 deg. F.); and was one of the first to study metals by the aid of the microscope, following up the pioneer inquiries of Henry Clifton Sorby [q. v. Suppl. II]. In 1888 he was elected F.R.S. and was besides a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Chemical Society, and member, respectively, of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Society of Engineers. To the publications of these societies and to technical periodicals he contributed some forty papers The Society of Engineers awarded him two premiums for papers in their 'Transactions,' viz. 'On the Strength of Wrought-iron Railway Axles' (1879), and 'On the Effect of Strain on Railway Axles' (1895). In 1902 he received the society's gold medal for the memoir, 'Effect of Segregation on the Strength of Steel Rails.' In 1884 the Institution of Civil Engineers awarded him a Telford medal. An important paper on 'Wear of Steel Rails on Bridges' was published in the 'Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute' (1895).

From time to time Andrews acted as consultant to the admiralty and the board of trade on metallurgical questions. He paid special attention to the microscopic examination of metallic materials with a view to determining the cause of naval accidents, and he contributed a detailed series of observations on the subject to 'Engineering' (1904). In a paper on the microscopic effects of stress on platinum (Roy. Soc. Proc. 1902) he broke new ground. At Cambridge University he delivered lectures to engineering students. At Sheffield Andrews was a consistent advocate of technical education directed to industrial ends; and he actively assisted in founding and developing Sheffield University. He died at his home, 'Ravencrag,' near Sheffield, on 19 June 1907. He married in 1870 Mary Hannah, daughter of Charles Stanley of Rotherham, and had issue three sons (two died in childhood) and one daughter.

[Roy. Soc. Proc. vol. lxxxi. A.; The Times, 20 June 1907; Engineering, 28 June 1907; Industries and Iron (with portrait), 24 April 1896; private information.]

T. E. J.