Frost, James

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b. late 18th century Finchley (?), London, England
d. mid-19th century probably New York, USA
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English contributor to investigations into the making of hydraulic cements in the early nineteenth century.
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As early as 1807 Frost, who was originally a builder and bricklayer in Finchley in north London, was manufacturing Roman Cement, patented by James Parker in 1796, in the Harwich area and a similar cement further south, at Sheerness. In the early 1820s Frost visited Louis J.Vicat (1796–1861) in France. Vicat was a French engineer who began in 1812 a detailed investigation into the properties of various limestones found in France. He later published his conclusions, which were that the best hydraulic lime was that produced from limestone containing clay incorporating silica and alumina. He experimented with adding different clays in varying proportions to slaked lime and calcined the mixture. Benefiting from Vicat's research, Frost obtained a patent in 1822 for what he called British Cement. This patent specified an artificial cement made from limestone and silica, and he calcined chalk with the clay to produce a quick-setting product. This was made at Swanscombe near Northfleet on the south bank of the River Thames. In 1833 the Swanscombe manufactory was purchased by Francis \& White for £3,500 and Frost emigrated to America, setting up practice as a civil engineer in New York. The cement was utilized by Sir Marc Brunel in 1835 in his construction of the Thames Tunnel, and at the same time it was used in building the first all-concrete house at Swanscombe for Mr White.
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Further Reading
A.J.Francis, 1977, The Cement Industry 1796–1914: A History, David \& Charles. C.C.Stanley, 1979, Highlights in the History of Concrete, Cement and Concrete Association.
DY

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

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