Gossage, William

SUBJECT AREA: Chemical technology
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b. 1799 Burgh-in-the-Marsh, Lincolnshire, England
d. 9 April 1877 Bowdon, Cheshire, England
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English industrial chemist, inventor of the absorption tower.
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At the age of 12 he was working for his father, who was a chemist and druggist. When he was old enough, he started in the same trade on his own account at Leamington, but soon turned to the making of salt and alkali at a works in Stoke Prior, Worcestershire. In 1850 he moved to Widnes, Lancashire, and established a plant for the manufacture of alkali and soap. Gossage's soap became famous, and some 200,000 tons of it were sold during the period 1862 to 1887. Gossage made important improvements to the Leblanc process. Hitherto, the large quantities of hydrogen chloride discharged into the atmosphere had been a considerable nuisance and a cause of much litigation from aggrieved parties. Gossage introduced the absorption tower, in which the ascending hydrogen chloride was absorbed by a descending stream of water. An outcome of this improvement was the Alkali Act of 1863, which required manufacturers to absorb up to 95 per cent of the offending gas. Gossage later took out many other industrial chemical patents, and for a time he was engaged in copper smelting with works in both Widnes and Neath, South Wales.
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Further Reading
J.Fenwick Allen, 1907, Some Founders of the Chemical Industry, London. D.W.F.Hardie, 1950, A History of the Chemical Industry in Widnes, London.
LRD

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

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