Peter Spence

1806 - 1883

Industrial chemist. Born in Brechin (Angus), Spence worked initially at a gas-works but went on to develop a process for the production of alum (Potassium Aluminium Sulphate) based on treating coal-shale with sulphuric acid. This he patented in 1845 and set up a plant in Manchester to produce it commercially. Alum was used in dyeing textiles, tanning leather and in paper manufacture. Spence became responsible for the majority of the world's production.

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