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Macintosh, Charles

Born: 1766 AD
Died: 1843 AD

1766 – Born on December 29th in Glasgow, the son of a well-known dyer, he took an early interest in science.

         – His researches in chemistry and as the inventor of waterproof clothing which added his name to the English dictionary. While trying to find uses for waste products generated by gasworks, he used naptha, a by-product of the distillation of coal-tar, as a solvent for rubber. This was applied to two pieces of cloth which were then pressed together.

1786 – He started work in a chemical factory.

1797 – He opened the first alum works in Scotland. Together with Charles Tennant, he invented an easily carried bleaching powder which made a considerable fortune for the two men.

         – He also invented a conversion process which used carbon gases to convert iron to steel which was much faster than the method used up until that time. Another invention was a hot blast process.

1823 – Despite early problems with the strong smell of rubber, the patent he took out on the process meant that "Macintoshes" were much in demand. Although other forms of waterproof clothing have been developed since, his name is often used to describe them – including the "plastic mac".

1823 – Macintosh was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

1843 – He died on July 25th.