The August in Sol-Gel (and Materials Chemistry) History

Antoine Lavoisier (born 26 August 1743): French chemist and aristocrat known as the “father of modern chemistry”, who built a large laboratory using his personal wealth. His discoveries included the law of conservation of mass and he developed the modern method of naming compounds, which replaced the older, nonsystematic approach. He was guillotined during the French Revolution for being part of the aristocracy (hero of the chemical revolution; killed by the French revolution) (click here and click here).

Amedeo Avogadro (born 9 August 1776): Italian scientist and Count, who graduated at the age of 20 with a degree in ecclesiastical law. Noted for calculating the number of atoms in twelve grams of carbon-12 and deriving Avogadro Constant, the number of elementary entities in 1 mole of a substance ( click here).

Jöns Jacob Berzelius (born 20 Aug 1779, died 7 Aug 1848): Swedish chemist who established the foundations of modern chemistry, through the determination of atomic weights, the development of letters for chemical symbols and the use of subscripts to indicate relative proportions in chemical formulae. He introduced the terms isomerism (1831), catalysis (1835), and allotropy (1840) (click here).

Carrie Everson (born 27 August 1842): Self-taught American chemist, metallurgist and innovator who invented and patented processes for extracting metals from mineral ores by bulk oil flotation. The Mining Journal noted in 1916 that “as a metallurgist she was a quarter of a century in advance of her profession”, although she encountered significant barriers to entering this traditionally male-dominated field. Her achievement were acknowledged through her induction into the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008 (see click here, click here and click here).

6 On 31 August 1625, antifouling paint for impairing the growth of marine organisms on ship’s hulls was first patented in Britain. The paint involved a mixture of cement, a copper compound and powdered iron. Over 250 years later, the first patent issued under Japan’s Patent Monopoly Act, issued on 14 August 1885, was also for an antifouling/anticorrosion paint consisting of a mixture of lacquer, powdered iron, red lead, persimmon tannin and other ingredients (click here).

On 1 August 1793, the “metre” was defined for the first time as being one ten-millionth of the northern quadrant of the Paris meridian (5,132,430 toises, from the north pole to the equator, where one toise is a historical unit of measure equivalent to 1.949 m). The definition was corrected in a second measurement made along the Dunkirk -Barcelona axis (5,130,740 toises) and subsequently ratified by the French National Assembly on 7 Apr 1795. In the Middle Ages, the toise was originally defined as the distance between two marks on an iron bar set in a wall near the staircase of the Grand Châtelet in Paris (click here).

On 2 August 1904, a patent was granted to Michael J. Owens (Toledo Glass Company) for a “glass shaping machine” that revolutionised the production of glass bottles and eliminated child labour from glass-bottle factories. The industrial-scale production of glass bottles and jars today owes its inception to this invention, with his first machine capable of producing four bottles per second. A later version of his machine weighed 50 tonnes and contained 10,000 moving parts (click here and click here).