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British Industrial History

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John Spiller

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John Spiller (1833–1921), chemist and inventor of photographic techniques

1833 born in Holborn, London, on 20 June, son of John Horatio Spiller, an architect.

Educated at the Royal College of Chemistry and stayed on after his course as a junior assistant to Professor A. W. Hoffman. He became a close friend of William Crookes, with whom he had a common interest in photography, experimenting with the calotype process from about 1850.

c.1853 Assisted Dr John Percy at the Royal School of Mines in analysing British iron ores.

1854 Crookes and Spiller published their first paper on photography

1856 Appointed as an assistant chemist at the Woolwich Arsenal.

1861 he founded a department at Woolwich to teach the new field of photography

1868 joined his brother, William's firm, Brooke, Simpson, and Spiller as chief chemist

1869 Became secretary of the Photographic Society of London

1881 Consulting analytical chemist, living in Islington with his wife Emma 29, Ethel Mary Spiller 24, Arnold John Spiller 18, Claude Pritchard Spiller 11[1]

c.1888 retired from the company.

1891 Retired War Department chemist[2]

1911 Retired War Office chemist, living in Islington, with his wife Emma 59, and children Claude Pritchard Spiller 41, and Leonard Spiller 21[3]

1921 Died in Islington.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1881 census
  2. 1891 census
  3. 1911 census
  • Biography of John Spiller, ODNB