Muspratt, James (1793–1886), chemical manufacturer
1793 born in Dublin on 12 August, the youngest of three children of Evan Muspratt (d. 1810) and his wife, Sarah. It is believed that his father had emigrated from southern England; his mother was a member of the Mainwaring family of Cheshire. After local schooling James was apprenticed to a wholesale chemist.
1818 After various adventures abroad, Muspratt went into partnership with Thomas Abbott (an established drug and general merchant), to set up a chemical works in Dublin.
1818 Married Julie Josephine Connor; they had four sons and six daughters.
1823 After the government abolished the £30 per ton duty on salt, it became economic to manufacture soda using Leblanc's process. Muspratt set up a small chemical works in Liverpool, in an old glass factory, taking advantage of Liverpool's import facilities.
1828 Muspratt was forced out of Liverpool for polluting the atmosphere. He built a new works at St Helens in partnership with another Irish chemist, Josias Gamble.
1830 The partnership ended. Muspratt moved to Newton (le-Willows?) on the St Helens Canal.
From 1832 until 1850 Muspratt was continually involved in litigation concerning the emissions from his works; in the end he had to close the works.
Built Seaforth Hall, on the dunes near Bootle.
Muspratt's sons, Richard and Frederic, opened successful new works at Flint (as Muspratt Bros. and Huntley) and Widnes.
1837 His eldest son, James Sheridan Muspratt, was involved in a project at University College, London to make alkali by a novel (ammonia-soda) process and persuaded his father to invest in it. It was unsuccessful. Years later Solvay developed the ammonia-soda process successfully.
Another son Edmund Knowles Muspratt was also involved in the chemical industry,
1856 James's youngest son, Max, returned to Liverpool to join his father's rapidly expanding chemical company James Muspratt and Sons.
1886 James died at Seaforth Hall.
Sources of Information
- Biography of James Muspratt, ODNB