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James Mactear

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James Mactear (1845-1903)


1903 Obituary [1]

JAMES MACTEAR was burn in Glasgow on 3rd April 1845, where he was educated.

From an early age he displayed a strong tendency towards chemical science, and studied chemistry under Dr. M. Wallace, of Glasgow. After a short time spent in acquiring a knowledge of manufacturing chemistry, he was appointed assistant manager to Mr. Edmund Stanford, whose processes for the preparation of iodine from sea-weed were then being introduced into Scotland. During this period he devised a method for obtaining the bromine which had hitherto been lost.

In 1864 he became assistant manager in the chemical works of Messrs. C. A. Allhusen and Sons at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and in 1867 he was appointed manager of the works of Messrs. Charles Tennant and Co., of St. Roll., Glasgow. There he improved most of the old processes, and invented new methods and appliances, which were so successful that within two years he became managing partner, having the chief control of the technical business of the Company. During the fifteen years of his management he invented, designed, and erected a largo amount of chemical plant and mechanical furnaces.

In 1884 he retired and removed to London, to take up the profession of consulting chemical expert and engineer.

After settling in Loudon, he took up mining and metallurgical work as a speciality, and became an authority on the mining and metallurgy of quicksilver, in connection with which subject he visited nearly all the countries in which that metal has been discovered, and invented appliances for the distillation and condensation of the metal from its ores. He also devoted much attention to the processes of gold extraction.

He contributed many Papers on chemical subjects to the scientific literature of the times, and was awarded the silver medal of the Society of Arts in 1876 for his contribution on the new methods introduced by him into the alkali manufacture.

He was appointed a Juror at the Paris Exhibition of 1878, and received the gold medal instituted in memory of Professor Graham for the best chemical research of the preceding three years. He was widely known as the discoverer of the method of producing artificial diamonds.

For some years he commanded the 5th Lanark Rifle Volunteers.

His death took place at his residence in London on 3rd June 1903, at the age of fifty-eight.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1892; and was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry and of the Chemical Society.


1903 Obituary [2]

JAMES MACTEAR, born on the 3rd April, 1845, was educated at Glasgow, and from an early age displayed a strong tendency towards chemical science.

He studied chemistry under Dr. Wallace, of Glasgow, and after a short time spent in acquiring a knowledge of manufacturing chemistry and of the management of workmen, was appointed Assistant Manager to Mr. Edmund Stanford, whose processes for the preparation of iodine from seaweed were then being introduced into Scotland.

While engaged in that industry Mr. Mactear worked out a method for obtaining the bromine which had hitherto been lost. Leaving Mr. Stanford, he was for three years Assistant Manager in the large chemical works of Messrs. C. A. Allhusen and Sons at Newcastle-on-Tyne.

In 1867 he was appointed Manager of the works of Charles Tennant and Co., of St. Rollox, Glasgow. There he improved most of the old processes, and invented new methods and appliances, which were so successful that within the short period of two years he was assumed as a partner of the firm, and was entrusted with the chief control of the technical business of the Company. That control he retained till 1884, when he retired from the firm and removed to London, to take up the profession of Consulting Chemical Expert and Engineer.

After settling in London Mr. Mactear took up mining and metallurgical work as a specialty, and became a recognised authority on the mining and metallurgy of quicksilver . . . [more]


1903 Obituary [3]



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