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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Unknown said...

My name is Gregory Kustel. Guido
Kustel is my great uncle. I am so
proud to see his name on this site
and I want to thank who ever put
it here for the world to see.
Anyone out there who is a relative
of Guido Kustel please contact me
Warmest regards,
Gregory Kustel

Unknown said...

Guido Kustel was my great great grandfather. I am looking for a picture of him. Do you have any information which might lead me to a picture?
James Hammill

Paul Franklin said...

I am writing a book on famous mining engineers and assayers. Guido Kustel was a key player in this respect, not only in California but also on the Comstock in Nevada. I am looking of any photos of him that descendants may have. I would appreciate copies with any data and of course give credit and a copy of the book to the source. Please contact me at

Anonymous said...

Hello. I am writting in response to all comments really. My Name is Krystle Hardin and Guido was Great x3 grandfather. I have many pictures of Henry and I am sure I was shown two pictures of Guido when I was younger. I will look in my families boxes and see if I might find a couple to post for you all. Also, Henry had another plot marker made and layed here in Sheep Ranch, Ca right next to him.. I will take some pictures and post ASAP. If you would like to respond please feel free to leave another comment and I will check back in a couple days.

Anonymous said...

Krystle - Did you ever find the pictures of Guido? I heard they were all lost in the 1906 fire in San Francisco (after the earthquake).
I would be interested in any pictures you have of him since I am also his great x3 grand daughter.
Let me know.