Luke Howard (1772-1864), chemist and meteorologist
1772 Luke Howard was born, the eldest son of the second family of Robert Howard who, being a widower with three children, had married Elizabeth Leatham of Pontefract as his second wife. Luke was born at Red Cross Street, London.
1780 When he was eight years old, he was sent to school at Burford in Oxfordshire, where he remained till 1787.
1787 Apprenticed to a pharmaceutical chemist, Ollive Sims at Stockport.
1794 Returned to London and joined a firm of pharmacists in Bishopsgate.
1795 He set up business in Fleet Street but it did not survive long.
1796 He married Mariabella Eliot
1797/8 he went into partnership with William Allen, another Quaker, who owned the Plough Court pharmacy, Lombard Street - see Allen and Howard. Luke took charge of the firm's laboratory at Plaistow, Essex. The Howards moved from Fleet Street to Plaistow in order to supervise their manufacturing branch already established there.
1803 Although he published nothing on chemistry, regarding this information as trade secrets, he presented a paper on the classification of clouds which was later seen, in translation, by Goethe.
1805/7 The Allen and Howard partnership was dissolved. Howard moved the laboratory to Stratford where he built it into a thriving business, supplying chemicals to industry and pharmaceuticals to retail pharmacists, which eventually became Howards and Sons. He also provided pure ether to his friend and fellow Quaker John Dalton for his experiments.
1812 Luke Howard moved his family to Tottenham
c.1820 Published the first book in English on urban climatology
1821 He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (mainly for his work on meteorology) and, giving up his active business life, bought an estate at Ackworth, near Pontefract.
Developed the system of naming clouds which is still in use today
1864 Died at the house of his eldest son, Robert, at Bruce Grove, Tottenham.
Sources of Information
- Quaker Births
- Biography of Luke Howard, ODNB