Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   7 Comments )
Subject: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
Category: Science > Instruments and Methods
Asked by: aoszos-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 07 Dec 2004 12:39 PST
Expires: 06 Jan 2005 12:39 PST
Question ID: 439473
Need copies of notes on the chemical process by which he converted the
alluvial ore in his possession to purified Platinum Powder.  Further
how he converted his purified powder into malleable Platinum ingots. 
The chemical process should include his notes on the process to
include chemicals used, temperatures, timeframe, etc.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 07 Dec 2004 15:19 PST
There's a pretty detailed explanation of Wollastons' method here:

But it sounds like you're looking for the actual publications or notes
prepared by Wollastons himself.  Is that correct?  If so, it seems to
me it would be a major undertaking to access these materials.

Let us know in a bit more detail what you're after here.



Clarification of Question by aoszos-ga on 09 Dec 2004 07:17 PST

That is correct, we need the notes and or a copy of the lecture.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 09 Dec 2004 07:41 PST
Thanks for the clarification.

I've contacted the Royal Society about getting a copy of the actual
paper, and I'll let you know what sort of response I get.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 09 Dec 2004 10:32 PST

I've heard back from the Royal Society.  They are not able to email
copies of Wollastons paper, "On a Method of Rendering Platina
Malleable", due to copyright restrictions.

However, they can mail a paper copy directly to you, once you provide
them your name and address.

The paper is also available through a commercial database that many
colleges have access to, in case you are in a position to access it on
your own.

As an answer to your question, I can post the contact information for
the person at the Royal Society who can help you, and I can also post
the database information for obtaining a copy of Wollastons' paper.

However, as noted in scavengernyc's comments below (nice job by the
way, scavengernyc), there is much more to Wollastons work than just
the published paper, and quite possibly a trip to Cambridge Univeristy
would be necessary in order to access these.

Let me know how you would like me to proceed.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 10 Dec 2004 19:27 PST
Hello again,

I just read your latest note (below) which adds some nice context to the question.

But I'm still not sure how you would like us to proceed on this.  As I
mentioned earlier, I can direct you to a source of Wollastons'
original paper describing his method for "Rendering Platina
Malleable".  Would that meet your needs?

If not, please let me know in a bit more detail exactly how we can
best be of assistance in your quest.



Clarification of Question by aoszos-ga on 11 Dec 2004 08:37 PST
For clarification on the question.  Get me copies of the paper from
the Royal Society that they have concerning Wollaston.  If they charge
for this service you have to find a way to get them to contact me
directly so I can arrange payment and give them my fax number/ email/
address to mail the stuff to me.  I have emailed them and got no
response as of yet.  I have no problem paying the $200 if you can help
me get this info from them.
Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 11 Dec 2004 09:15 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Thanks for getting back to me on this.  

As I mentioned earlier, I have heard back from the Royal Society, and
they identified two ways to obtain to access to Wollaston's original

Here is the actual email I received from them:

It would be possible to send you a printout of the following lecture
as published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society on
receipt of your postal address.  I am afraid that due to copyright
restrictions it is not possible to send you an electronic copy.

Title: The Bakerian Lecture: On a Method of Rendering Platina
Malleable Author(s): William Hyde Wollaston Source: Philosophical
Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. 119. (1829), pp.
1-8. Stable URL:

Alternatively you may be able to access the digital version of the
article via - access is by subscription but your local
university library may have such a subscription.

Best wishes 


Clara Anderson 
Assistant Archivist 
Library and Information Services 

tel  +44 (0) 20 7451 2556 
fax +44 (0) 20 7930 2170 

The Royal Society 
6-9 Carlton House Terrace 
London SW1Y 5AG 

As you can see, there are two options:

1.  Contact Ms. Anderson directly to request a copy of the paper, and
provide her your name and address.  She will mail it directly to you.

2.  Access the JSTOR database through a local public or university
library, and you can retrieve the Wollaston paper electronically.

The direct JSTOR link to the paper is:

However, this link only functions for those with subscriber access to
the site.  (NOTE that there appear to be different types of subscriber
access to JSTOR.  I actually have access to the database, but since
the subscription doesn't include historical science sources, I can't
access this particular link...too bad!).

A librarian can also help get a copy of the article through interlibrary loan.  


I also want you to be aware of this comprehensive book on the history of platinum:

Apparently, it covers the topic in great detail, and may be worthwhile
obtaining a copy.  Copies can be ordered online at:

or again, a librarian can help obtain a copy for loan.

Unfortunately, I cannot obtain the copies for you and then forward to
you, as Google Answers policy prohibits the posting of personal
contact information such as a mailing address.

I hope this information fully meets your needs, and I wish you all
success in your endeavors.

Before rating this answer, please let me know if you need any
additional information.   Simply post a Request for Clarification, and
I'll be happy to assist you further.


search strategy -- Google searches on:

wollaston platinum
"platina malleable"
aoszos-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
From: scavengernyc-ga on 08 Dec 2004 04:44 PST
The original paper detailing the process was presented to the Royal
Society in 1828, just before W.H. Wollaston died.  The name of the
paper was "On a Method of Rendering Platina Malleable."

The full transcription of this paper can be had (at a very dear
price!) from Michael R. Thompson Booksellers at this link:
Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
From: aoszos-ga on 09 Dec 2004 07:15 PST

If it is not against the rules we would have interest in communicating
much more direct.  Can you provide an email where we can contact you.

I thank you for the info.....
Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
From: scavengernyc-ga on 09 Dec 2004 08:06 PST
I don't know how I can further help you, but if you wish to ask
further questions, I will try to reply to them here. Pafalafa seems to
be on the right track, yet I noticed in my search that the Royal
Society does not have the whole of Wollaston's works and letters. 
Wollaston willed his papers and correspondances to his friend, Henry
Warburton, who upon his death, left them to Cambridge University,
which today has many notebooks of Wollaston, some of which I noticed
were footnoted in texts referring to the Platina paper.  This leads me
to believe that the paper itself is now in the possession of Cambridge
University, not the Royal Society.

 I am wary to provide contact information because having read the FAQ
here, I note the following passage:

# Should I post my email address to Google Answers if someone asks for it?

To protect your privacy, we recommend that you not post your email
address or any other personal information about yourself on Google
Answers. The site is available for public viewing and may be indexed
and crawled by search engines. Researchers are asked to not answer
questions that contain or ask for personal contact information.
Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
From: aoszos-ga on 10 Dec 2004 18:48 PST
I asked for contact information, so that we may find out if either of
you are scientifically qualified?  We are salvagers, that recovered
what aappears to be the alluvial ore that Wollaston was smuggling out
of South America.  Only one technician has had any success processing
the material into platinum and palladium. Unfortunately they will not
reveal their "proprietary process" that was used to process the
Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
From: scavengernyc-ga on 11 Dec 2004 02:27 PST
Oh, okay. :-)

No, I am not scientifically qualified to help you with the processing
of platinum from alluvial ore.  I just research info for the helluvit,
because I like to do so and am good at it.

That said, if you are seeking Wollaston's original paper for said
info, and are equally willing to dish out $200 for an answer here,
perhaps the price of the book I pointed you to is not much of a
stretch financially for you, considering the profit to be had once you
have the method.  The book costs $750 USD.  I would make sure to
verify that the original paper in the book includes all methodology as
put forth by Wollaston, though, if I were paying that price for info.

I assume that the paper does indeed detail the methodology though,
because according to all accounts, it is that exact paper which marks
the moment that Wollaston revealed his method to the public.  The
bookseller makes clear that that paper is indeed included within the
books pages.  Still, being thorough beforehand will save you much

Best of luck in your endeavours!
Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
From: scavengernyc-ga on 11 Dec 2004 02:35 PST
aoszos - 

Just read pafalafa's notes and clarifications above...

Seems to me that the best and most *economical* way to obtain the
information you are seeking is to abide by the specific contacts that
pafalafa can offer you, as they will yield the same info at a much,
much cheaper price!

Thanks for giving forth a cool search mission, and thanks to pafalafa
for the compliment. (means much coming from one rated as highly as
yourself pafalafa!)
Subject: Re: William Wollastons Platinum Refining Techniques
From: pafalafa-ga on 11 Dec 2004 14:58 PST
Thanks a lot for the kind rating...much appreciated.

I hope you wind up finding everything you need.


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy