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The final produd of the adion of nitric acid is phthalic
acid. Alkaline permanganate is not always a suitable
agent to employ if the objed be to completely oxidise the
naphthol : thus the main produd of its adion on dibromo-
6-naphthol, for example, is the acid—


which, on distillation, yields bromophthalide.

Anniversary Meeting,
Wednesday, March 25th, at 8 p.m.



A MBBTiNO 10 celebration of the Jubilee of the Society
was held in the Theatre of the London University on
Tuesday, the a4th February, 1891, Dr. Russell (the
President) being in the Chair, and a numerous audience
of Fellows and visitors being present.

The proceedings were opened by the following address
from the President : — .

We meet to-day to celebrate the fifty years' existence
of our Society, a time, if measured by the progress which
our science has made, equal to centuries of former ages,
but which in years is so brief a space that we have, I am
happy to say, with us to-day some of those who were
present and who took an adive part in the foundation of
the Society, and I need hardly say with how much in-
terest we shall listen to their reminiscences of the time
and circumstances conneded with the birth of our

I would, by way of introdudioD, say a few words, first,
with regard to our Society, and afterwards with regard to
the state of chemistry in England when our Society was
founded. We boast, and I believe rightly, that our
Society holds the distinguished position of being the first
which was formed solely for the study of chemistry.
Chemistry and physics, twin sisters, had hitherto alwa)r8
dwelt together, and many were the societies, both in this
country and abroad, devoted to their joint study and

In London there was the Royal Society, which had
hitherto received the most important chemical papers ;
there was also the Society of Arts, which is no years,
and the British Association, which is ten years senior of
our Sodety. In Manchester the Literary and Philo-
sophical Society had been founded and adively at work
since 1781 ; and we admit that our neighbours at Burling-
ton House, the Astronomical, Antiquarian, Ltnnean, and
Geological Societies are all our seniors: they bad a
distind individuality and literature of their own, which
called them into existence some forty to eighty years
before the commencement of our Society. Small private
chemical societies, no doubt, existed ; they are the
natural fore-runners of a large society, and become
merged into it. The Chemicai Sedion of the British
Association, which is an ephemeral and peripatetic
Chemical Society, had existed from the founding of that
body. If we turn to other countries we find that, much
as our science had been cultivated on the Continent, it
did not, until later times, engross a whole society to
itself, the French Chemical Society not having been
formed until 1857, and the now great Berlin Chemical
Society not until x868. Our interest, however, at ths
moment is rather in the growth of chemistry in this
country than in what occurred elsewhere.

To-day we may learn how it came about that the first
Chemical Society was established in England. I may,
however, state that the reason for our meeting depends
on the official record that on the 23rd of February, 1841,
twenty-five gentlemen ** interested in the prosecution of
Chemistry " met together at the Society of Arts to
consider whether it be expedient to form a Chemical
Society. Of the twenty-five who then met I am happ^
to say three are present— Sir W. Grove, Sir L. Playfair
and Mr. Heischj and Dr. Longstaff and Mr. J. Cock
are others of this band who are still alive but not

These twenty-five gentlemen appear without dissent
to have come to the conclusion that it was expedient to
form a Chemical Society, and appointed a committee of
fourteen to carry this resolution into effed. So expedi-
tious were they in their work, that in little more than a
month the first general meeting was held, and the
provisional committee brought forward a report embody-
ing a plan for the constitution and government of the
Society, and this plan remains essentially the same, save
in one point, to the present day. I refer to the formation
of a museum of chemical specimens ; this projed was
abandoned some years ago. It is worth recording that
at this first general meeting Thomas Graham was deded
President; W. T. Brande, Esa., J. T. Cooper, Esq.,
J. F. Daniell, Esq., R. Phillips, Vice-Presidents ; Arthur
Aikin, Esq., Treasurer ; Robert Warington, Esq., E. F.
Teschemacher, Esq., Secretaries; Council — Dr. T. Clark,
Rev. J. Cumming, M.A., Dr. C. Daubeny, T. Everitt,
Esq., T. Griffiths, Esq., W. R. Grove, Esq., H. Hennell,
Esq., G. Lowe, Esq., W. H. Miller, Esq., M.A., W. H.
Pepys, Esq., R. Porret, Esq., Dr. G. O. Rees. Also that
the Society then numbered seventy-seven members. We
hail Sir W. Grove as being the most' adive member who
is still among us in founding our Society, for he was a
member of the first council, was present at the first
meeting, and was a member of the provisional committee.
I must here add to the official record, for it does not tell
us how these twenty-five gentlemen <* interested in the
prosecution of chemistry " were coUeded together at one

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Chemical Sociefy*s Jubilee.

I March so, 1891.

time and place. Obviously, some special force was
required to build up this complicated molecule; that
special force was embodied in and exercised by Robert
Warington. By his adivity and energy he brought about
this meeting, and we can imagine how difficult and
troublesome a work it probably was, how some of these
gentlemen had to be instigated to sAion, others repre-^sed,
some convinced that the aim was desirable, others that it
was feasible. But whatever the difficulties were Mr.
Warington succeeded, and to him we are indebted for the
formation of our Society. Although he has passed away,
he is ably represented here to-day by bis son. The love
for tne Chemical Society has proved to be hereditary:
Mr. Warington of to-day is a most adive and valued
member ; is one of our Vice-Presidents ; and, as our
programme shows, is about to present to us records con-
heAed with the early history of our Society which are of
great interest now and will become of increasing value as
time goes on.

I tarn now at once from these matters immediately
conneded with our Society to the consideration of what
was being done in chemistry in this country fifty years
ago. At that time public laboratories for the systematic
teaching of chemistry did not exist in London. The
number of real students of chemistry in this country was
very small. They were looked upon by their friends as
being eccentric young men, who probably would never do
any good for themselves, and these few students found
pradical instrudlion in the private laboratories of some oi
the London teachers.

The pradical teaching of chemistry appears to have
been undertaken in Scotland much earlier than in
Eneland, for Dr. D. B. Reid held pradical classes at the
University of Edinburgh as early as 1832. Graham came
to London from Glasgow in 1837, and until the opening
of the Blrkbeck Laboratory in 1846, he had from time to
time private students working in his laboratory. And so
with the other teachers, who all had private or articled
pupils. I doubt whether the pupils received much
systematic instrudion, but they gained an insight into
laboratory work, saw how apparatus was put together,
and how analyses were made. We have, indeed, to wait
tome years before public laboratories are established, for
not until 1845 is the College of Chemistry opened, and this
appears to have been really the first first public laboratory
in London, and its obledt, as stated by its founders, is
V toestabhsh a practical School of Chemistry in England."
About the same time both University and King's College
establish laboratories. The Council of our Society recog-
nised theimportanceofthese occurrences, for in the Annual
'Report in 1847 ^^ read, although an event not immedi-
ately conneded with the Society, the Council has much
j>leasure in commemorating the late successful establish-
ment in London of chemical laboratories, expressly
designed to further the prosecution of original research.
The new laboratories of the College of Chemistry, and of
the two older Colleges of the London University, now
offer facilities for pradical instrudion and research not
surpassed, we believe, in any foreign school.

While speaking of laboratories in London, I should,
however, mention that the Pharmaceutical Society estab-
lished a laboratory especially, if not exclusively, for its
own students as early as 1843.

It was not till several years later — till 1850 and 1851 —
' that the medical schools in London established classes
' of pradical chemistry.

If we consult the scientific Journals of the time immedi-
ately preceding the formation of our Society, we find it
was by no means a time of chemical adivity in this
country, but was rather a dull time, given more to the
study and slow development of the science than to dis-
covery. Methods of analysis, both organic and inorganic,
' had been much improved, and the dominant idea was the
determination of the empirical composition of bodies, and
the preparation of new compounds, whose existence was
predided by a study of Daltoo*8 Atomic Theory. Graham,

Kane, and Johnson, of Durham, were the leaders in
scientific chemistry, and the authors of the most impor-
tant chemical papers of the time. Graham had very
lately published bin notable paper on the constitution of
salts — a paper which gained for him, some years after its
publication, a Royal medal. Kane was an adive worker
and bold theorist, and at this time his reputation waa
much increased by a paper on the Chemical History of
Archil and Litmus. Johnson was also a most adive
chemist. His contributions relate to many branches of
the science, but especially to the chemical composition of
minerals. In 1841, however, he is engaged on a long
series of papers on the constitution of resins. He will
probably be best known and remembered as an agricultural
chemist. Faraday we can hardly claim as a chemist at
this time, for he was then rapidly publishing his long
series of Experimental Researches in Eledricity. While
speaking of eledricity I should state that it was in 1840
that Smee described his battery, and the Society of Arts
awarded him a gold medal for it. An important branch
of our science was, however, coming into existence — a
branch which has found many and successful investigators
in this country ; I mean photography. It was in 1840
that Herschel published in the Philosophical Traufactions
his elaborate paper on the chemical adion of the rays of
the solar spedrum, a paper in which he recognises a new
prismatic colour beyond the violet, and chemical adivity
in the spedrum beyond the red, and besides discussing
many other matters, establishes his previously discovered
hyposulphite of soda as the best agent for the fixing of
sun pidures. Fox-Talbot had previously given an
account of Photogenic drawing, and claims that as far
back as 1835 he took pidures of his house by means of a
camera and chloride of silver paper, but it is not till 1838
that t]ie Secretary of the Royal Society extrads from him
a clear account of the details of his process, and it is in
1841 that he is granted a patent for improvements in
obtaining pidures or representations of objeds. Again,
in the following year, Herschel publishes another paper
of much importance. I can here only mention how
adively this line of research was prosecuted by Robert
Hunt, how many ingenious and interesting experi-
ments he made, and how valuable was the account
he afterwards gave of this subjed in his ** Researches on
Light.** Thus the work done in this branch of chemistry
at the time of which I am speaking is certainly note-
worthy, probably more so than in other branches of
chemistry. In fad, of other advances in chemistry there
is little to record, but I may mention that Clarke's process
for determining the hardness of water also holds its
jubilee this year, for it was in 1841 that a patent was
granted to Dr. T. Clarke for a new mode of rendering
certain waters less impure and less hard.

Not a single chemical paper appears in the Phil,
Trans, for -1841, but there are two papers which were
much discussed at this time, and although they were
readily shown to be erroneous, still are interesting as
indicating the chemical ideas of the day. One is by
Robert Rigg, who is carrying on an experimental inquiry
on Fermentation, being termed ** Additional Experiments
on the Formation of Alkaline and Earthy Bodies by
Chemical Adion when Carbonic Acid is Present " ; it is
published in the Proceedings oj the Royal Society, The
other is a paper by Dr. S. M. Brown entitled '* The Con-
version of Carbon into Silicon," published in the TranS'
actions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh,

With regard to the first paper, Mr. Rigg believes that
he has demonstrated that when fermentation takes place,
a great and dired increase in alkaline and earthy salts,
viz., of potass, soda, and lime occurs, an increase varying
from 15 to 19 times the original amount. Denham Smith,
who has only very lately passed away, showed that the
theory simply rested on inaccurate experiment.

The objed of the other paper is to demonstrate that on
heating paracyanogen, nitrogen is given off, and a residue
of silicon remained. Dr. Brett and Mr. Denham Smith

Digitized by


CbsMttAL Kswi, I
March ao, 1891. I

Chemical Society's jubilee.


controverted this, and in a paper in the Phi/. Mag.
proved that the supposed silicon was simply carbon in
a very incombustible state. So important an experiment
was this alleged conversion of carbon into silicon con-
sidered to ht at the time of its publication, that it
attradted Liebig*s attention, and in a letter to Dr. Play*
fair, which was communicated to the meeting of the
British Association at Plymouth in 1S41, Liebig says, he
has repeated Dr. Brown's experiment on the production
of silicon from paracyanogen, but has not been able to
confirm one of his results.

As far as pure chemistry is concerned it was rather a
time of repose. The beginning of the century had been
a brilliant time for chemistry in England. Dalton had
published his atomic theory; Davy had decomposed
potash and soda, and had demonstrated that chlorine
was an element; and Cavendish and Wollaston were then
still at work. In fa^, the most important discoveries
of that time were made in this country, but I fancy that
during this later period a feeling grew up that the age
of brilliant discoveries was over, and that apart from the
preparation of a few new compounds, the essential work
of the time was analysis, and the determination of the
percentage composition of bodies. Still, much quiet
study of the science was going on, as is indicated by the
considerable demand which existed for good text-books.
Henry's, Turner's, Kane's, and Graham's Chemistry —
all these, without mentioning others, went through
numerous editions, and played a very important part in
the spread of chemical knowledge in our country.

Another text-book, which is interesting as showing
how little organic chemistry was studied in this country,
is Dr. Thomas Thompson's work on " Vegetable Chemis-
try." Dr. Thompson states in his preface that the objed
of the book is to lay before the British public a pretty
full view of the present state of the chemistry of vege-
table bodies, and further he says, ** that the ultimate
analyses he gives have, with very few exceptions, been
made upon the Continent, and principally in Germany and
France. British chemists have hardly entered on the
investigation." Evidently, then, at this time organic
chemistry had been but little studied in this country.

When our Society was founded, Thomas Graham was
certainly the most distinguished chemist in England. He
came to London in 1837 ^^ professor of chemistry at
University College, succeeding Edward Turner. The
work he had already accomplished was of a high order,
and he was now occupied in writing his book which
appeared in 1842.

The book was an admirable account of the chemistry
of the time ; it contained a well- arranged and clearly
written introdudion, describing the principles and latest
discoveries in those branches of physics which bear most
diredly on chemistry. There was also an able and
succinct account— probably the best which had then
appeared in this coun'.ry — of organic chemistry ; and with
regard to physiological chemistry, he states in the preface
that he gives a ** condensed view of the new discoveries
in this department, which now enters for the first time
into a systematic work on chemistry."

There are, however, indications that a knowledge of
the discoveries and discussions going on the Continent
only slowly reached this country. This is strongly in-
sisted on in the Phil. Mag, of 184X, by Messrs. Francis
and Croft, who state that " but little of what is done
abroad, especially in Germany, seems to find its way into
England, or at least until the lapse of some years." In

})roof of this statement they mention results lately pub-
isbed by Dr. Apjohn, Prof. Johnston, and Dr. Golding
Bird, all of which had been known on the Continent some
time previously. A valuable series of communications
described as ** Notes of the Labours of Continental
Chemists," is afterwards communicated by these chemists
' to the Phil. Mag., and continued for several years.

The visit of Liebig in 1837, when he attended the
• meeting of the British Association at Liverpool, must

have given some stimulus to the study of organic
chemistry in England, and we find that he undertook to
report to the British Association on '* Isomeric bodies,"
and also on organic chemistry, and this great undertaking
resulted in his two works, the one '* Chemistry, in its
Application to Agriculture and Physiology," and the
other, *' Chemistry, in its Applications to Physiology and
Pathology." Both books were dedicated to the Briti
Association, the first appearing in 1840, the second in
1842. It is very difficult for us now to realise the impor-
tance of these works, and properly to appreciate not only
the large amount of new knowledge which they contained,
but, what is of still greater importance, the novelty of
treating such subj^ds in a truly scientific spirit. Gradu-
ally this treatment of the subjeds became understood and
appreciated, and people took a higher view of chemistry,
and regarded it as a true science, and not merely as a
study which might lead to useful results.

If, then, it be true that chemistry at this epoch was not
rapidly progressing in this country, we naturally ask how
it came about that our Society from -its very foundation
was so successful. The explanation is not difficult to
find, nor doubtful, for we have only to turn from our own
country to the Continent and learn what is happening
there. Liebig is at Giessen, Wohler at Gottingen, Bunsen
at Marburg, Dumas, Laurent, Gerhardt, and a host of
distinguished and adive chemists in France, and at this
time even Berselius and Gay-Lussac are alive. Liebig,
with his wonderful energy and ability, was powerfully
advocating the theory of compound radicles, and was
extending in every diredtion our knowledge of organic
chemistry, and inspiring all who came within the range
of his influence with a love for investigation. Dumas, at
the same time, both as a chemist and a finished advocate^
was advancing his views on substitution and chemical
types. Laurent, and afterwards Gerhardt, were, with
conspicuous ability, showing how these theories were to
be extended and modified so as to assume a form which
has even with the lapse of time been but little altered.
Thus on the Continent it was a time of wonderful adivity;
chemistry was every day becoming more of a true science,
and the constitution as well as the composition of bodies
was adively being discussed and investigated. This
adtivity on the Continent took time to reach and really
affedt us here. The older chemists thought the new
theories were visionary and unsound, the simple theories
of their younger days were being swept away, and only
slowly did they realise the meaning of the newer form of
their science; but the wave of progress could not be
stopped, and in this country we had been ripening for the
change. Clearly the immediately cause of this suddeji
increase of chemical adivity in England was Liebig. His
famous school had now been established for several years
at Giessen, and if the older men in this country did not
altogether put their trust in him, the younger men, break-
ing through all restraint, flocked from this country to his
laboratory, there to become indodrinated with his enthu-
siasm for the study of chemistry, and to learn how
scientific investigation was to be carried on. At this
epoch our Society was founded, and our Journal shows
how successful Liebig's teaching was, how a new spirit
was instilled into English chemistry, and how much
valuable work his students did. Our Society gave thete
a ready means of publishing their discoveries, and a meet-
ing place for discussion and mutual interchange of ideas.
Thus do I explain the success which fiom the first has
attended on our Society ; and having now led you to this
point I stop, for my part was merely to speak the proloeue,
and I leave the story of the development of our Society
in other hands.

A Gas-Balance with a Compensator. — A. Siegert
and W. Durr. — This apparatus differs from that of Lux
by the circumstance that the hollow sphere suspended to
the weigh-beam is essentially closed and filled with air.—
Ztit. f. Anal. Chem,, Vol. xxix. Part 4.

Digitized by



Interference with Attemating Currents.

March 6/A, 1891.

Prof. W. £. Ayrton, F.R.S., President, in the chair.

Mr. H. a. Mibrs, M.A., and Mr. W. Lucae, M.A., were
ele^ed Members of the Society.

Mr. Jambs Swinburne read a ** Note on EUctrosieUic

After referring to the history of the eledrometer method
of measuring power developed by alternating currents, the
author pointed out that the necessity for taking two read-
ings from which to determine the watts might be obviated
by having the quadrants separate instead of cooneded in
pairs as in the ordinary method. Non-indudive resistances
are conneded to the transformer, motor, or other ap«

{>aratus in which the power is to be measured, so as to be
n seiies with the apparatus, and on opposite sides of it ; and
the four ends of these two resistances are conneded with
the four quadrants. Under these circumstances the de-
fledion of the needle is a measure of the watts. To in-
crease the maximum defledion obtainable so as to make
an instrument capable of being read by a pointer, the
needle is made in two halves, fixed one below the other
on the same stem, and, instead ofquadrants, semicircular
boxes are employed. In this way a range of 130 degrees
is obtainable.

Prof. Pbrry enquired as to what kind of law the in-
strument had, and Mr. Blakbslby asked whether it was
convenient to use.

Mr. £. W. Smith pointed out that there was no neces-
sity to take two observations in the ordinary eledrometer
method, for, by using a false zero, one defledion gave the
watts. Further, the use of the false zero rendered it un-
necessary to employ any other voltmeter when experiment-
ing at constant pressure.

The Prbsidxnt said the historical part of the paper
was not Quite corred, and recalled attention to the
fad that when high pressures were used a single reading
obtained with the ordinary method of counting up gave
the power. For ordinary low voltages, however, the false
sero method described by Mr. Smith was very convenient.

Mr. Swinburne, in reply to Mr. Smith, said the ob-
servation of the false zero really meant another reading.
As to the law of his wattmeter, referred to by Prof. Perry
and the President, he said he never calculated a law, but
calibrated the instruments diredly.

Prof. S. P. Thompson, D.Sc., now took the chair, and
a paper on " Interference with Alternating Currents^' by
Prof. W. E. Ayrton, F.R.S., and Dr. Sumpner, was read
by the latter.

The paper relates to the phenomena which occur when
alternating eledric pressures are impressed on circuits

Online LibraryArnold BennettChemical news and journal of industrial science → online text (page 36 of 88)