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Revision as of 09:39, 15 February 2020

Joshua Ward (1685–1761) was an English doctor, remembered for the invention of Friar's Balsam

Ward is widely cited as an example of a quack.

In 1736, Ward set up the Great Vitriol Works in Twickenham for producing sulphuric acid. It used a process discovered in the seventeenth century by Johann Glauber in which sulphur is burned together with saltpetre (potassium nitrate), in the presence of steam. As the saltpetre decomposes, it oxidises the sulphur to sulfur trioxide, which combines with water to produce sulphuric acid. This is said to be the first practical production of sulphuric acid on a large scale.

Ward was quite generous to the poor. He opened hospitals for the poor in Westminster as well as in the City of London and the clinics did not charge people for their service. It is estimated he gave around £3,000 to charity.

Ward is buried in Westminster Abbey.

The above information is condensed from the Wikipedia entry.

A French source[1] credits Ward with an important development in lead production, using large glass spherical vessels instead of pottery bell jars to perform the combustion of sulphur, and he also placed glass spheres in series. The method spread to the Continent after 1746, initially being used in factories in Berlin, then Liege, Rouen, and Winterthur. Eventially glass was superseded by lead, based on the work of John Roebuck and partner S. Garbett in Birmingham.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'A History of Technology and Invention - Progress through the Ages - The Expansion of Mechanization: 1725-1860' Edited by Maurice Daumas, translated by Eileen B. Hennessy, Crown Publishers Inc. First published in France in 1968 as 'Histoire Générale des Techniques', Chapter by Maurice Daumas, p.559