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British Industrial History

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John Jacob Fox

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Sir John Jacob Fox (1874–1944), analytical chemist

1874 born Jacob Fox at 6 Samuel Street, Spitalfields, London, son of Marks Fox, furrier of London, and his wife, Hannah Jacobs.

Educated in London at St Thomas Charterhouse School

1896 entered government service as an assistant of excise. Joined the government laboratory

1897-9 taking advantage of a new scheme for assistants, he attended courses in chemistry at the Royal College of Science but did not take a degree.

1899 Married Amelia Boas. They had a son, Charles, and a daughter, Irene.

Attended classes at the East London Technical College, both in the evenings and during holidays, frequently working there for twelve hours at a time.

1904 Joined the permanent staff of the government laboratory.

1908 Gained BSc (by research)

1910 Awarded DSc (by thesis).

Assisted Professor Thomas Thorpe, principal of the laboratory, on the development of ‘leadless glazes’ to avoid the dangers of poisoning factory workers.

Became interested in ultraviolet absorption spectra, which he researched with James Dobbie.

WWI Devised new rapid methods of analysis.

1920 Appointed OBE

1920 Appointed a superintending chemist and helped organize the laboratory to meet the increased work load arising from the Safeguarding of Industries Act of 1921 and from new silk duties in 1926.

Early 1920s added the name John

1929 Appointed deputy government chemist

1936 Appointed government chemist.

1938 Awarded CB

1940 joined the staff of the director of scientific research in the Ministry of Supply, as chief adviser to the controller of chemical research, while retaining his duties as government chemist.

1943 elected FRS.

1944 knighted

1944 died at a nursing home in Golders Green.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Sir John Jacob Fox