Voelcker, John Christopher

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b. 24 September 1822 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
d. 5 December 1884 England
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German analytical chemist resident in England whose reports on feedstuffs and fertilizers had a considerable influence on the quality of these products.
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The son of a merchant in the city of his birth, John Christopher had delicate health and required private tuition to overcome the loss of his early years of schooling. At the age of 22 he went to study chemistry at Göttingen University and then worked for a short time for Liebig at Giessen. In 1847 he obtained a post as Analyst and Consulting Chemist at the Agricultural Chemistry Association of Scotland's Edinburgh office, and two years later he became Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, retaining this post until 1862. In 1855 he was appointed Chemist to the Bath and West Agricultural Society, and in that capacity organized lectures and field trials, and in 1857 he also became Consulting Chemist to the Royal Agricultural Society of England. Initially he studied the properties of farmyard manure and also the capacity of the soil to absorb ammonia, potash and sodium. As Consulting Chemist to farmers he analysed feedstuffs and manures; his assessments of artificial manures did much to force improvements in standards. During the 1860s he worked on milk and dairy products. He published the results of his work each year in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. In 1877 he became involved in the field trials initiated and funded by the Duke of Bedford on his Woburn farm, and he continued his association with this venture until his death.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS. Founder and Vice-President, Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1877. Member Chemical Society 1849; he was a member of Council as well as its Vice-President at the time of his death. Member of the Board of Studies, Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester; Honorary Professor from 1882.
Bibliography
His papers are to be found in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, for which he began to write reports in 1855, and also in the Journal of the Bath and West Society.
Further Reading
J.H.Gilbert, 1844, obituary, Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, pp. 308–21 (a detailed account).
Sir E.John Russell, A History of Agricultural Science in Great Britain.
AP

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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