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Peter Spence (1806 - 1883), chemical manufacturer
Described as 'That ingenious and experienced manufacturing chemist' who intoduced some useful and important improvements in the metallurgical process of copper-smelting.
1806 Born at Brechin; a younger brother, James, became a naval architect.
Apprentice grocer in Perth
1831 Married Agnes Mudie; 4 sons and 4 daughters
Worked at Dundee Gas Works
1834 Moved to London; started a small chemical works
Patent on using gas works lime wastes and liquors
Moved to Burgh, Cumberland where he set up a small chemical works; accidentally discovered alum process which made alum much cheaper - patented in 1845
Moved to Manchester to access cheaper supplies of fuel; established works at Pendleton which later became Peter Spence and Sons; further patent in 1850. Soon became the leading manufacturer of alum.
Established branch works in Birmingham and Goole. Developed various metallurgical processes, including an attempt to treat the wastes from the Parys mine; many patents.
Attempted to develop a process for treating aluminium phosphate from Redonda but the process was not a success. As a result of his losses, he converted the business into a limited company. Financially helped by a fellow member of his church, Richard Johnson, the iron master (perhaps of Richard Johnson and Nephew?).
1857 Lawsuit on nuisance caused by emissions resulted in moving the works to Miles Platting
1882 Took out patent on using manganese oxide to precipitate iron; this later attracted a lawsuit from A. G. Kurtz and Co
1883 His wife died in February and he on 5 July