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Significant Scots
Charles MacIntosh

MACINTOSH, CHARLES, F.R.S., an inventor of several chemical manufactures, was born at Glasgow, December 29, 1766. He was the son of Mr. George Macintosh, who introduced the manufacture of cudbear and Turkey-red dyeing into Glasgow. His mother was Mary Moore, a daughter of the Rev. Charles Moore, of Stirling, and a sister of Dr. John Moore, author of "Zeluco,". Her nephew was Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, K.B., who fell in the disastrous retreat at Corunna. Charles received the elements of his education in his native city, and afterwards was sent to a school at Catterick Bridge, in Yorkshire. On his leaving the latter, he was placed in the counting-house of Mr. Glassford, of Dugaldston, to acquire habits of business. He studied chemistry under the celebrated Dr. Black, then settled in Edinburgh, and turned his knowledge to practical account at an early period, having embarked in the manufacture of sal-ammoniac before he had attained the age of twenty. He subsequently introduced from Holland into this country, the manufacture of acetate of lead and acetate of alumina, employed in calico-printing. In 1797 he was associated with Mr. Charles Tennant, then a bleacher at Darnley, near Glasgow, in working the patent for the production of chloride of lime in the dry state and in solution, since employed so extensively as a bleaching agent. In the same year he became a partner in a firm of Hurlet for the manufacture of alum from alum schist; and, in 1805, similar works, on a large scale, were established by the same company at Campsie. On the death of his father, in 1807, Mr. Macintosh took possession, with his family, of the house at Dunchattan, near Glasgow, where he continued till the end of his life to prosecute his chemical researches. In 1822 he obtained a patent for his celebrated invention of the waterproof cloth distinguished by his name. With a view to the obtaining of ammonia to be employed in the manufacrure of cudbear, Mr. Macintosh, in 1819, entered into a contract with the proprietors of the Glasgow gas-works, to receive the tar and other ammoniacal products of the distillation of coal in gas-making. After separating the ammonia, in converting the tar into pitch, the essential oil named naphtha is produced; and it occurred to the inventive mind of Mr. Macintosh to turn this substance to account as a solvent of caoutchoue or India rubber. He succeeded in producing a waterproof varnish, the thickness and consistency of which he could vary, according to the quantity of naphtha employed in the process. Having obtained a patent for this process, he established a manufactory of waterproof articles, which was first carried on in Glasgow, but was eventually transferred to a partnership in Manchester, under the name of Charles Macintosh & Co. In 1828 Mr. Macintosh joined a copartnery in working the hot-blast of Mr. J.B. Neilson. He first established in Scotland the manufacture of Prussian blue and prussiate of potash; invented the mode of topical painting of calico, silks, &c., by the application of the caoutchoue and naphtha varnish; and invented and patented a process for converting iron into steel, by means of carburetted hydrogen gas. Mr. Macintosh closed a career of great usefulness to science and the arts on the 25th of July, 1843, in his seventy-seventh year.

Some Genealogy

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