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Astley Paston Price

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Astley Paston Price (1826-1886)

1887 Obituary [1]

ASTLEY PASTON PRICE, the third son of the late Dr. Price, of Margate, was born in the year 1826.

He was educated at Margate, and having a considerable taste for chemistry he was, after leaving school, placed by his father with a firm of manufacturing in London. With this firm he remained for about three years, during which time he attended the chemical classes at University College, where he was a favourite pupil of Professor Graham, late Master of the Mint. This acquaintance ripened into a close intimacy and a lasting friendship.

He then went to Giessen, where he studied chemistry under Liebig and took the Ph.D. degree. He subsequently studied at Paris for some years under Pelouze, whose personal friendship he also acquired.

Dr. Price then returned to England, and became Assistant to Dr. Hoffmann at the Royal College of Chemistry, afterwards receiving an appointment in the School of Mines. During this portion of his career he not only attained a very extended knowledge of chemistry, but became the associate and friend of many of the leading chemists of the day, both at home and abroad. Many of his fellow-students at Giessen and Paris will bear witness to the kindness they invariably received from Dr. Price on their visits to this country. His linguistic attainments, as well as his chemical talents, were always at their disposal, and the advantages they derived from his intimate acquaintance with Graham, Hoffmann, Percy, and others, are still remembered by his foreign friends.

During the time Dr. Price was at the College of Chemistry and the School of Mines, he lost none of the opportunities open to him of visiting the large chemical manufacturing works of this country, and few men of his age possessed so varied and extensive a knowledge of practical and technical chemistry as he did.

During this period of his life he was also intimately associated with Mr. (now Sir Frederick) Abel, F.R.S. ; Dr. Odling, F.R.S., now the Oxford Professor of Chemistry, and many rising chemists whose reputations have since become European. The acquaintances then made lasted throughout his life.

In the year 1851 Dr. Price accepted the position of chemist to the silver-works of Messrs. Dillwyn and Co, of Swansea, and took up his residence in Swansea for about six years.

On his return from Swansea, Dr. Price commenced to practice as a consulting chemist in London, and was in this way consulted by many of the largest firms in the kingdom. Although he invariably declined to give evidence in Court as a chemical expert, he had an extensive practice in chemical patent-cases. Amongst others he had the conduct of the chemical part of the great case of Young v. Fernie, in which the validity of Mr. Young’s patent for the manufacture of Paraffin oil was maintained.

Dr. Price was possessed of great inventive talent, and the patent lists for the last thirty-six years contain the records of his many inventions relating to the manufacture of sugar, the treatment of metals and ores, the distillation of carbonaceous materials, the treatment of sewage, &c. For the last ten years of his life he suffered much from ill-health, and was entirely prevented from any active prosecution of his profession ; his interest in chemical science, and in the progress of chemical industry, was however maintained to the last. In private life few men possessed so large a circle of friends, to whom his versatile talents, and his impulsively generous and thoroughly unselfish character universally endeared him. Dr. Price died at Margate on the 3rd of April, 1886.

He was one of the earliest Fellows of the Chemical Society, and was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 23rd of May, 1865.

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