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British Industrial History

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Archibald Campbell Campbell

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Archibald Campbell Campbell (1835-1908), politician and physicist

1835 Born in Florence the eldest child of Archibald Douglas

1838 His father changed his name to Campbell on succeeding his cousin, Archibald Campbell, as laird of Blythswood.

After a career in the Army, he entered politics.

He designed a heliostat which was made by Hilger

He established an extensive private laboratory at his home, Blythswood House, Renfrew. He received detailed advice and guidance from Lord Kelvin, who was also a political ally.

1885 Gold medal for invention of an improved goniostat, spectroscope and speed indicator

1892 Raised to the peerage as Lord Blythswood

Between 1892 and 1905 experimented into many areas at the frontier of physics including cathode rays, X-rays, spectroscopy, and radioactivity at the Blythswood Laboratory.

1896 Lord Blythswood claimed that his Wimshurst machine had produced X-rays for photographs (shortly after Röntgen's discovery of X-rays).

1900 Blythswood recruited a young physicist, Herbert Stanley Allen (1873–1954), to take control of his laboratory. After Allen left to take up a teaching position in London in 1905, the laboratory was frequently used for engineering experiments by a Whitworth Scholar, Walter Scoble.

Blythswood produced a sophisticated dividing engine for ruling diffraction gratings. It was later inherited by the National Physical Laboratory.

In the last few years of his life he was much occupied with aerodynamics, including making kites and studying the efficiency of aerial propellers.

1907 Elected FRS.

1908 Obituary [1]

ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL CAMPBELL, BARON BLYTHSWOOD, died on July 8, 1908, at his seat, Blythswood House, Renfrewshire.

Lord Blythswood was born in 1835, and was the son of Archibald Campbell, of Blythswood.

He served with his regiment, the Scots Guards, in the Crimea, where he was severely wounded.

On the death of his father in 1861 he retired with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and immediately devoted himself to the Auxiliary Forces.

For some time he sat in Parliament as member for Renfrewshire and West Renfrewshire, which latter constituency he held till 1892, when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Blythswood.

Lord Blythswood was a devoted student of science and did much useful work, especially in physics. After the discovery of radium some interesting experiments were carried out in the laboratory which he equipped at Blythswood. He was a leader in county politics and an active statesman.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1883.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of Archibald Campbell Campbell, ODNB