Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Bryson Orr

From Graces Guide

1840 John Bryson Orr was born in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland, where his father was in business as a dyer.

He was apprenticed to the firm of Lewis, McLellan and Co, Oil and Colourmen and Drysalters in Glasgow, and studied Chemistry at the Andersonian College, also in Glasgow.

1861 He carried out experiments on mixed zinc and barium pigment.

1868 Seven years later, he produced the pigment in bulk. Shortly after he travelled on Continent in connection with a colour business, and on the outbreak of the Franco-German war, served as an unofficial war correspondent for a Glasgow newspaper.

1872 Orr returned to Glasgow, and set up a factory for the manufacture of the pigment that became known as Lithopone (the name of a similar German white pigment) - J. B. Orr and Co

1874 J. B. Orr himself never referred to the pigment he produced as "Lithopone". His 1874 patent named it as "Orr's permanent white enamel paint" and this passed through "permanent zinc white", "permanent zinc sulphide white" and various other permutations until Orr's Zinc White became generally used on the founding of the Widnes works.

1880 His factory burnt down. Shortly afterwards, Orr, with a partner, formed the Silica Paint Co in London, where he manufactured Lithopone (sold under the name of "Charlton White") and the first washable distemper known as "Duresco."

1881 John Bryson Orr was elected a Fellow of the Chemical Society on 15 December.

1884 A patent described the use of a mixture of barium and strontium sulphates.

1896 (?1898) He founded the firm of Orr's Zinc White Ltd, in Widnes, Lancashire.

1930 Orr's Zinc White Ltd was acquired by the Imperial Smelting Corporation of which Orr remained director until the time of his death.

1933 John Bryson Orr died on 23 September.

  • Note:

J. B. Orr and Co may have been in existence for some time before 1880, using material from Orr's Glasgow works, serving the market later addressed by the Silicate Paint Co.


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