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British Industrial History

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Christopher John Schofield

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Christopher John Schofield (1832-1892)

of Vitriol and Alkali Works, Clayton, near Manchester.

1857 Partnership dissolved between Schofield and Anderton, vitriol manufacturers [1]

1876 'THE FATAL FALL OF A VITRIOL CHAMBER AT CLAYTON. An inquest concerning the deaths of Jos. Beswick, aged 46, foreman labourer, who resided at Clayton, and Robt. Smith, kilnman, 44 years old, late of Edge Lane, Droylsden, was conducted by Mr. F. Price, at the Humphrey Chetham Inn, Ashton New Road, Clayton, yesterday afternoon. Joseph Beswick, the son of one of the deceased men, said that his father previous to his death was employed at Mr. Schofield's mamufactory. The witness also worked there as a plumber, and before the accident on Thursday he was assisting to line the inside of the vitriol chamber with lead. The chamber had been if course of erection during four months. About half past three o'clock on Thursday afternoon, he and the other plumbers, while standing in the chamber, were lowering, by means of a crab, one end of a large plank, the other end being already upon the floor, when the timber work, which formed one side of the chamber (the latter being constructed of a framework of beams lined with lead), began to fall inwards. .....'[2]

1903 Photo of Schofield's chemical works here.

1892 Obituary [3]

CHRISTOPHER JAMES SCHOFIELD was born at Manchester on 17th March 1832.

In early life he devoted himself to the invention of a machine for cutting fustian, an operation which is still done by hand. The experiments with the machine not being so successful as he wished, he commenced business as a chemical manufacturer, and constructed the largest vitriol chambers in use at that time. In connection with this trade he invented an annular revolving furnace for rendering the production of soda ash a continuous process, the revolving trough or bed being charged on one side of the stationary brickwork casing, and discharged by scrapers fixed at the opposite side.

Recently he introduced an apparatus for the concentration of sulphuric and other acids, by which the fracture of the glass retorts employed was to be prevented.

His connection with engineering consisted principally in the interest he took in the management of large works. He was a director of the Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Co., of Messrs. Charles Cammell and Co., of the Chatterley Co., and of Messrs. Andrew Knowles and Sons, and was largely concerned in other steel and iron works and collieries.

He was owner of the Bedworth collieries, near Nuneaton, the machinery of which he almost entirely renewed with appliances of the most modern kind.

He was a justice of the peace for the county of Lancaster.

His death took place at Whalley Range, near Manchester, on 8th January 1892, in the sixtieth year of his age.

He became an Associate of this Institution in 1875.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Leigh Chronicle and Weekly District Advertiser, 9 May 1857
  2. Manchester Times, 1 July 1876
  3. 1892 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries