Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 137,397 pages of information and 221,173 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Lyon Playfair

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Lord Lyon Playfair (1818-1898).

Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair GCB, PC, FRS (1818-1898) was a Scottish scientist and Liberal politician.

1818 May 1st. Born at Chunar, Bengal, the son of George Playfair, Inspector General of Hospitals in that region, and Janet, daughter of John Ross. He was named after his uncle, Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair

Educated at the University of St Andrews, the Andersonian Institute in Glasgow, and the University of Edinburgh.

After going to Calcutta at the end of 1837, he became private laboratory assistant to Thomas Graham at University College, London, and in 1839 went to work under Justus Liebig at the University of Giessen.

After returning to Britain, Playfair became manager of a calico works in Primrose, near Clitheroe

1843 Appointed Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Manchester Institution, where he was assisted by Robert Angus Smith. Two years later, he was made chemist to the Geological Survey, and subsequently became Professor in the new School of Mines.

1846 Married Margaret Eliza Oakes, daughter of James Oakes, in Riddings, Derbyshire[1]

1847 Wrote to James Young telling him of a petroleum spring yielding 300 gallons/day in the Riddings colliery near Alfreton, Derbyshire.

1848 Elected to the Royal Society, and three years later was made Special Commissioner and a member of the executive committee of the Great Exhibition.

1857-59 President of the Chemical Society. [2]

1898 May 29th. Died

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