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British Industrial History

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Charles Cowper

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Charles Cowper (1821-1860)

1849 of 20 Southampton Buildings, London.[1]


1862 Obituary [2]

MR. CHARLES COWPER, the second son of Professor Cowper, of King’s College, London, (whose invention of the printing machine, now in common use, is so well known,) was born on the 8th of August, 1821.

After receiving his education at a private academy and at University College School, Mr. Charles Cowper was articled to Mr. W. Maugham, a practical and analytical chemist, and he subsequently studied under Dr. Faraday and Mr. Brande, whilst he simultaneously followed, to some extent, those mechanical pursuits to which his father and his brother were more particularly devoted.

In 1841 he became the practical and analytical chemist to Messrs. Chance Brothers and Co. at their extensive glassworks, near Birmingham, and made several useful improvements in the mixtures for coloured glass for horticultural purposes, of which the palm-house in Kew Gardens was one of the largest examples. He also improved the working of sulphuric acid chambers, obtaining a larger yield per pound of sulphur than had been usual.

In 1848, he commenced business on his own account in London as a patent agent; and having profited by the opportunities he had of studying mechanical science and Engineering generally, he soon established a considerable reputation, both in reference to chemical and mechanical inventions; indeed, in the specifying of patents he was SO careful, that not one of those drawn by him has ever been successfully contested. He was much respected by a wide circle of friends, for his amiable disposition, his uprightness of character, arid great moral worth.

He expired on the 23rd December, 1860, leaving a wife and family to lament a kind and affectionate husband and parent. He joined the Institution as an Associate in the year 1850, and took much interest in the proceedings, frequently attending the meetings and assisting in the discussions.


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