Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Josias Gamble

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Josias Christopher Gamble (1776–1848)

1776 Born on a farm near Enniskillen, of a Scottish family who had been forced to move to Ireland

Attended Glasgow University, where he developed an enthusiasm for chemistry, especially bleaching, which he used to help flax farmers bleach their product.

1797 Graduated M.A.

1799 Ordained minister of the church in Enniskillen

1804 Moved to Belfast

Later he left the church and moved to Dublin; he set up a small works to make bleach according to Tennant's 1809 patent.

1815 Moved his works to a new site where he made his own supplies of sulphuric acid.

c.1820 Married Hannah Gower

1828 Gamble moved to Liverpool, following his acquaintance James Muspratt who had perceived the advantages of operating his business in Lancashire.

Gamble and Muspratt built a factory at St Helens

1830 Muspratt left to establish his Newton works, leaving Gamble on his own.

1835 Bought a bankrupt chemical plant at St Helens with Joseph and James Crosfield, soap boilers of Warrington, forming Gamble and Crosfields. Their younger brother, Simon Crosfield, joined the following year.

The various chemical works in St Helens produced much acidic emissions which affected local agricultural interests who took legal action against the companies. Joseph Crosfield took action to make use of William Gossage's patented condensing process to clean up the emissions but this annoyed Gamble, who had not agreed on this course of action, so Crosfield left.

1840 Gamble acquired an interest in an alum works at Gerard's Bridge in partnership with Marsden; this later became Jos. C. Gamble and Son, involving all 4 of his sons.

1845 The partnership with the Crosfields was dissolved and they formed a new business.

1846 Josias Gamble challenged Andreas Kurtz (and others) about infringements of his patent on the salt cake furnace; some of Gamble's claims were rejected. But during the trial Kurtz died.

1848 Gamble died at home in St Helen's. His son, David Gamble, inherited the business.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Some founders of the chemical industry, J Fenwick Allen [1]