Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Guido Kustel - Famous Mining Engineer of the Comstock Lode
[Kustel gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]
Guido Kustel (1817-1882), was a mining engineer and metallurgist who was active in the Comstock Lode and other regions of the west. At one time, no mining engineer on the West Coast was better known than Kustel. He was one of the few engineers who was willing to publish about his experience for the benefit of others.
Mr. Kustel was born in Galacia, Austria (once a part of Poland), and was educated at Freiberg, Saxony. He came to California in 1851, and became a pioneer in the mining regions. When the Washoe excitement broke out he went to Nevada and was among the first to work the silver ores. He started amalgamation works there on the Tyrolean tub-amalgamation principle, and later the pan amalgamation principle. He introduced the roasting and barrel-amalgamation process at the Ophir works, and was for a long time connected with the metallurgical progress of that region.
In 1863 Mr. Kustel published his work on "Processes of Gold and Silver Extraction," which created a sensation. His next works were "Concentration and Chlorination" and "Roasting of Gold and Silver Ores."
With his nephew Ottokar Hoffman, he experimented with the lixiviation of ores. Kustel obtained several patents and he discovered a new mineral, a combination of lead and gold, found on the Comstock Lode. It was subsequently named 'Kustelite'.
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