« AnteriorContinua »
Art. XI.--MEMOIR OF FREDERICK ACCUM, Esq. OPERATIVE CHEMIST; LECTURER ON PRACTICAL CHEMISTRY, MINERALOGY,
AND ON CHEMISTRY APPLIED TO THE ARTS AND MANUFACTURES; MEMBER OF THE ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY; FELLOW OF THE LINNÆAN SOCIETY; MEMBER OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, AND OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF ARTS OF BERLIN, &c. &c.
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF HIS WORKS. [From the European Magazine-Lond. June, 1820.] “Every man who receives a liberal education, at present considers Chemistry
as one of the most indispensable objects of his study.”-Fourcroy's Chemistry, Vol. I. p. 21.
Where we have received much pleasure or instruction from the writings of any individual, or from the lectures of any public teacher, we naturally feel some attachment to the man to whom we have been thus obliged, and become, in some degree, interested in tracing his literary career.—Chemistry, within our own times, has become a central science, from which all things emanate, and to which all things return. It may be pronounced a Pharos, which the genius of man has erected in the sanctuary of the operations of art and nature, to throw a light over all its details. It is not confined to the elucidations of what is already known, or to the improvement of what is already practised, Chemistry daily creates new arts. Within these few years, we have seen it create a new method of procuring light; an art on which the admirers of science, and the inhabitants of this country in particular, have greater reason to congratulate themselves, than any other invention or discovery of the present age. It is so wonderful and important, it speaks so forcibly by the effects it has already prodụced, and the rapid strides it has already made, that it cannot fail to increase the wealth of our nation, by adding to the number of its internal resources, as long as pit-coal continues to be dug in this country from the bowels of the earth.
Among the most active labourers in the field of chemical science of this country, is Frederick Accum. He is a native of Germany. We are unable, however, to give any information respecting his early days in his own country; but, from the register at the Alien Office, it appears that he came into England in the year 1793 that he was then twenty-three years of age—that he was born at Buckeburg, in Westphalia—and that he was by profession a chemist. It is there likewise recorded, that he was engaged as an assistant in the chemical laboratory of Mr. Brande, in Arlingtonstreet, apothecary to the King; though how long he served at that establisment we are unable to record. We remember him attending, in 1796, the anatomical theatre in Windmill-street, and St. George's Hospital.
About the year 1798, he became a frequent contributor to Nicholson's Philosophical Journal. His first paper was on the Separation of Alumine and Magnesia. In the same year, he furnished a Memoir on the genuineness and adulterations of the chemical preparations employed in medicine. In 1800, he published an Essay on the antiquity of the art of etching on glass-and, soon afterwards, he resumed the continuation of the former Memoir on the genuineness and adulterations of the chemical articles employed in medicine. Besides these Memoirs, which must be pronounced as the first literary productions of this chemical philosopher, numerous other papers from his pen are to be found in the subsequent volumes of Nicholson's Journals, as well as in Tilloch's Philosophical Magazine, and in various other periodical works. · About the year 1800, he settled as an Operative Chemist at his present place of residence, in Compton-street, Soho, where he built a laboratory, and commenced preparing for sale chiefly those of the nicer chemical preparations which are seldom to be met with in commerce, but are essential for the pursuits of philosophical chemistry.
Being now fully established, he gave private instructions in operative and experimental chemistry, and took resident pupils in his house, who worked in his laboratory under his immediate superintendance. And it is a pleasing reflection to be able to state, that men of exalted rank and dignified stations have acquired the acquisition of chemical science among his furnaces; for, from the Dedication of the Elements of Crystallography, published by him, it is evident, that the present Duke of Northumberland, Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, Count Munster, and Sir John Sebright, Bart. were then among his laboratory pupils : and we have good authority to state, that the late Duke of Bedford, Lord Palmerston, the unfortunate Lord Camelford, and several other noblemen, were at the same time his pupils, and worked in his laboratory.
In the year 1801, he was appointed Chemical Operator at the Royal Institution; but this situation he resigned, we believe, a few years after.
In the year 1802, he came forward as a public Lecturer on Chemistry and Mineralogy. His first courses and demonstrations were delivered at his own laboratory, in Compton-street, Soho: but this place being afterwards found not sufficiently capacious for his auditors, the number of which rapidly increased, he delivered his demonstrations and lectures at Dr. Hooper's Medical Theatre, in Cork-street.
:From that time, Mr. Accum's reputation as a public and private
In attempting to trace to a more recent date the career by which Mr. Accum has secured to himself the high reputation and patronage of an operative and philosophical chemist, and which has rendered his name so eminent among the chemical philosophers in this country, we shall give a list of his literary productions, of which the following have been published :
1. A System of Theoretical and Practical Chemistry, in 2 vols. 8vo. 1803. This work, which formed the text book of his lectures, delivered at his own laboratory, exhibits a clear and comprehensive view of the science of chemistry, and the accuracy and precision with which it is drawn up, has rendered it highly acceptable to the public, who have called for repeated editions of it. It has been republished on the American continent, and is translated
pred several foreld Essay on Lions have appailyst, and
2. A Practical Essay on the Analysis of Minerals, 1804. Of this book also several editions have appeared; it is excellently contrived to assist the less experienced analyst, and even the more experienced chemist will find in it hints of no little importance, which he can scarcely discover in systematic authors.
3. A manual of Analytical Mineralogy, intended to facilitate the practical analysis of Minerals, in 2 vols. 12mo. 1806. This work, which has passed through several editions, is admirably adapted for those who intend to become practically skilled in the summary analysis of minerals. It exhibits in a concise manner the general practical proceedings necessary for the chemical examination of ores, earth, stones, and other minerals. :
4. A Practical Treatise on Gas Light, exhibiting a Summary Description of the Apparatus and Machinery best calculated for
illuminating Streets, Houses, and Manufactories with Carburetted Hydrogen or Coal Gas, with remarks on the Utility, Safety, and general Nature of this new branch of civil Economy, 1816. This work it appears originated in consequence of many years' experience, during which time the author was professionally called upon to witness and verify the most extended series of operations that ever have been made for the purpose of ascertaining the practicability, safety, and general nature of the art of applying coal gas as a substitute for tallow and oil, and which have as it were fixed the fate of this art. The numerous experiments carried on upon a very large scale, which the author was called upon to institute, for the purpose of adducing them for the use of those who applied to Parsiament for being incorporated as a Chartered Company, in evidence before the House of Commons and House of Lords, enabled him to collect such a body of information as could not have been obtained by any other private individual. The substance of these results were printed by order of Government, and the author has incorporated them in this treatise, together with such other facts and observations as presented themselves in the routine of his profession. “ This book, therefore, is highly useful to those who wish to acquire a practical knowledge of the subject on which it treats, and will enable mechanics to erect the apparatus necessary for carrying the gas light illumination into effect. It will give to those who are unacquainted with the nature of the gas light illumination, a fair and not overcharged statement of the merits and defects of this new art; whilst, at the same time, the chemist will meet with facts relating to the subject of lighting with coal gas, which will arrest his attention and add to the general stock of chemical knowledge.” (Philosoph. Mag. 1815.)
This work has passed through four editions in this country, and it has been translated into the French, Italian, and German languages.
5. Elements of Crystallography after the Method of Stacey, 8vo. 1816. This work is designed for the purpose of initiating into the principles of Crystallography those who possess no previous knowledge of it; and as the doctrine which explains the production of crystalline forms and their metamorphoses abounds in mathematical and algebraic calculations, and cannot be studied with ease and success by such as are unacquainted with the mathematics, the author, to render this book more generally useful, made arrangements to accompany and furnish with the work a set of geometrical solids, partly solid, and partly dissected, so as to give the untutored eye a distinct conception of the laws of that geome„try of nature which are followed by the integrant particles of crystallisable bodies when they combine, and of which the orderly arrangements produce symmetrical crystals, so that with the book
in the hands and the help of the models, those who are actually unacquainted with the mathematics, are enabled to study with great advantage the laws of crystallography, and their relations and consequences.
6. A Practical Treatise on the Use and Application of Chemical Re-agents and Tests : 1818. Of this work the 3d edition has lately appeared. It has also been translated into the French language.
It is by far the most complete and judicious manual, showing the utility and application of chemical tests, yet published. The examples, in elucidation of the action of the various chemical tests, are selected with judgment, and they are such as are easy to be performed, and the exhibition of which requires no other substances than such as are readily to be procured in all solutions. The work has run in a short time through several editions, and a French translation of it has lately appeared.
7. Chemical Amusement : comprising a Series of Curious and Instructive Experiments in Chemistry, which are easily performed, and unattended by danger: 1819. This work has been written with a view to blend chemical science with rational amusement. To the student it serves as a set of popular instructions for performing a varity of curious and instructive experiments, well calculated for illustrating the most striking facts which the science of chemistry has to offer. The experiments are such as may be performed with ease and safety in the closet, and the exhibition of which requires neither costly apparatus nor complicated instruments. There are several editions of this work.
8. A Description of the Process of Manufacturing Coal Gas, with Elevations, Sections, and Plans of the Apparatus now employed in the Gas Works in London and the principal provincial Towns in Great Britain, accompanied with comparative estimates, exhibiting the most economical Mode of procuring this Species of Light : 1820.
This treatise, as its title expresses, exhibits the superior processes of manufacturing coal gas now employed in the metropolis and the provincial towns of Great Britain, illustrated with elevations, sections, and plans of the most improved gas light machinery, which has stood the test of practice, and is now in action at the most celebrated gas light establishments in this country. A second edition of the work has lately appeared.
9. A Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons ; exhibiting the fraudulent Sophistications of. Bread, Beer, Wine, Spiritous Liquors, Tea, Coffee, Cream, Confectionary, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper, Cheese, Olive Oil, Pickles, and other articles employed in domestic economy, and methods of detecting them: 1820. This work has arrested general attention ; it is chiefly for the VOL. II,