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John Joseph Griffin

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John Joseph Griffin, (1802–1877), chemist, author, and business manager

1802 Born, in Shoreditch, London, son of Joseph Griffin (1752–1838)

The family later moved to Glasgow where the father sold books and chemicals.

John Griffin received a chemical education under Andrew Ure at Anderson's Institution. His connection with the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution brought him under the influence of Thomas Clark who taught chemistry there.

For some time in the 1820s he was employed on the staff of the Scots Times.

Published various texts on chemistry and related subjects, initially for those attending the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution.

1829–30 he visited Paris and Heidelberg

1831 Launched a Polytechnic Library series of publications, through a joint arrangement between his brother's business, Richard Griffin and Co, and the London-based publishing house of John Bumpus.

1832 Married Mary Ann Holder; they had twelve children.

1832 Just before Richard's death, John became a co-partner to the family business Richard Griffin and Co. Effectively he ran the business alone until Charles Griffin (1819–1862), his deceased brother's son, completed his education.

c1834 Opened a chemical bazaar at the new premises in Buchanan Street to sell the portable chemical laboratories, prepared by Robert Best Ede of Dorking, to accompany the seventh edition of his publication Chemical Recreations.

c.1834 It is claimed that he invented the glass beaker[1]

1837 John Griffin embarked on a project to supply apparatus to accompany the various texts he published; the first trade catalogue appeared in November.

1841 Visited Germany, Austria, and Bohemia to make contacts and to trade with suppliers in glass instruments and porcelain ware.

Founder member of the Chemical Society

1842 When Charles joined the publishing business, the earlier arrangement with Tegg was terminated. Under John Griffin's direction the publishing side of the family business developed a scientific leaning.

John Griffin developed his trade in chemical apparatus in support of various author's publications on science.

By 1848, he had transferred the business to London, which was becoming the centre of development of professional chemistry.

1848 He opened a chemical museum in Marylebone under his own name, where he traded in chemicals and chemical apparatus as well as books for Richard Griffin & Co.

1850 Following the take-over of a long-established London wholesaler, John Ward, he added philosophical apparatus to his product range but he continued to write works on chemistry.

1851 Received a prize medal from the Great Exhibition, for his graduated glass instruments

1862 Received a prize medal from the International Exhibition of 1862, for his research apparatus.

From the early 1870s, his sons, Charles Griffin FSA (1838–1900) and William Griffin (1839–1883), conducted the business under the style J. J. Griffin and Sons.

1877 John Griffin died on 9 June at his home in Haverstock Hill, London.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times July 9, 1984
  • Biography of John Joseph Griffin, ODNB [1]