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William Baker (1830-1878)

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William Baker (d.1878), chemist

c.1830 Born in London

1858 Married Adele Collin in London[1]

1861 Professional chemist, manager of a lead works, living in Sheffield with Adele Baker 28, Chas Kerslake Baker 2[2]

1871 Consulting analytical chemist, living in Sheffield with Adele Baker 37, and Charles K Baker 12[3]

1878 Died in Sheffield[4]

1878 Obituary [5]

Mr. WILLIAM BAKER.- The Iron and Steel Institute has lost a useful and. zealous member by the sad death of Mr. William Baker of Sheffield. Very shortly after the last March meeting of the Institute, in which he took a prominent part, Mr. Baker fell downstairs in his club at Sheffield, and sustained such terrible injuries that, although he lingered for about six weeks, death resulted on the 6th of June.

Mr. Baker was the son of a gun-maker in London, and he studied at the Royal School of Mines under Dr. Percy. He took his associateship in 1854, and subsequently became a fellow of the Chemical Society.

In 1854 he came to Sheffield, entering the service of Messrs. Rawson, Barker, and Co., Royd's Mill, as the analytical chemist and manager.

After fifteen or sixteen years spent with that firm, Mr. Baker entered into practice on his own account as an analytical chemist in High Street, having first purchased a practice which had been carried on there for some time. Soon afterwards he was appointed analytical chemist for the Upper Strafforth and Tickhill division, which appointment he held until recently. He was also the analyst for the borough of Rotherham. His work as an analytical chemist included an investigation into the vexed question of the presence of nitrogen in steel, which investigation he undertook in conjunction with Mr. Graham Stuart. More recently he carried out a series of very elaborate experiments with the view of endeavouring to remove phosphorous from iron and steel by the action of chlorine and other gases.

He was the author of several patents on matters more or less connected with chemistry, some of which are of no small value. He claimed to be the first to notice the fact that what is known as the Pattison process of purifying lead from silver, also affected the removal of copper and other foreign substances; and by the application of this principle he succeeded in gradually increasing the quality and value of the red and white lead manufactured by Messrs. Rawson, Barker, and Co. During the time he was with that firm he devoted special attention to lead, and many of the results of his observations and experiments are recorded in "Percy's Metallurgy."

For many years Mr. Baker was one of the hon. secretaries of the Sheffield Literary and Philosophical Society, and in 1876 he filled the presidential chair. He was the borough analyst of Barnsley as well as of-Rotherham; lecturer on toxicology at the Sheffield School of Medicine; and at the Collegiate School he was, until very recently, the chemical lecturer. Besides being a Fellow of the Chemical Society, he was a Fellow of the recently formed Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain, a member of the Society of Public Analysts, and a member of the Scientific Club.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 1861 census
  3. 1871 census
  4. BMD
  5. 1878 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries