Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Glover (1817-1902)

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Inventor of the 'Glover Tower', used for denitrating and concentrating sulphuric acid in one process, thereby saving nitre, fuel, and lead, besides removing the nuisance of acid fumes. It 'marked an epoch in the development of the manufacture of sulphuric acid'.[1]

1817 Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, son of Robert Glover, a cooper. He was apprenticed to a plumber at thirteen.

1830s Studied chemistry at Newcastle Mechanics' Institute.

1841 John Glover started work at the Felling Chemical Works, where he had the idea for a tower in which the oxides of nitrogen would be separated and returned to the sulphuric acid process.

1852 John Glover was employed by Hugh Lee Pattinson at the Washington Chemical Works

1859 Large-scale trials of his tower took place about 1859 at the Washington works. It was found to improve the efficiency of the process. Glover did not patent the tower so other chemical manufacturers were able to use the idea.

1861 Glover set up his own chemical works at Carville, Wallsend with W. F. Clark and J. W. Mawson as partners, to exploit and develop the tower - this became Carville Chemical Co

Two of his sons, William and Henry, assisted their father at the Carville works, designing towers for acid plants.

1882 The Carville plant closed because of competition from the Solvay process.

1896 Received the first gold medal from the Society of Chemical Industry for "conspicuous service to applied science".

1902 Died at his home in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'Today in Science History' website - John Glover - Obituary
  • Biography of John Glover, ODNB [2]