Entrepreneurial Ventures in Chemistry
The Muspratts of Liverpool, 1793-1934
The Muspratt family form a fascinating dynasty in the history of British commerce and manufacturing. Associated principally with the development of the chemical industry in Liverpool - James Muspratt (1793-1884) was the first person to make alkali on a large scale using the Leblanc Process - the three generations of the family also contributed to wider Victorian and Edwardian culture through their interests in politics, education (founding the Liverpool College of Chemistry in 1848), art, literature and theatre. This is the first study to present the history of the Muspratts as a family group and to consider the entrepreneurial spirit they brought to chemical manufacture in Britain and to their many other ventures.
Table of Contents
Introduction, family firms and entrepreneurship; James Muspratt and the early years, 1793-1822; Entrepreneurial spirit to the fore and overseas disputes, 1822-1840; Gentrification with Seaforth Hall and conflict in the North American trade, 1841-1851; Business expansion and changes in leadership, 1852-1870; Causing a nuisance! ‘The monster nuisance of all’; The Muspratts and advancements in education; Sheridan’s pursuit of chemistry; Patronage of the arts; Business uncertainty and the United Alkali Company, 1871-1890; Political aspirations and civic responsibilities; Innovation, war and further business rationalization, 1891-1926; End of a dynasty, 1926-1934; The Muspratt legacy and the epilogue; Muspratt bibliography; General bibliography; Index.
An independent historian, Peter Reed has written and spoken widely on nineteenth-century science and technology, in particular chemistry, chemical technology, the environment and early chemical dictionaries. It was while working for National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside that his interest in industrial archaeology and history began. He is an active member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Historical Group, Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry and Newcomen Society. His book Acid Rain and the Rise of the Environmental Chemist in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Life and Work of Robert Angus Smith was published with Ashgate in 2014.