October 12th, 1823 – The Invention of the Raincoat

Today-In-History

Scotland is notorious for its vast amounts of rain and on October 12th, 1823Charles Macintosh relieved the drenched Scots with the sale of the first raincoat.

Scotland Rain

Charles Macintosh was a Scottish chemist and inventor of waterproof fabrics. The Mackintosh raincoat (the variant spelling is now standard) is named for him.

Charles_Macintosh

Charles Macintosh (December 29th, 1766 – July 25th, 1843)

Macintosh devoted all his spare time to science, particularly chemistry, and before he was twenty resigned his clerkship to take up the manufacture of chemicals. In this he was highly successful, inventing various new processes. His experiments with one of the by-products of tar, naphtha, led to his invention of waterproof fabrics, the essence of his patent being the cementing of two thicknesses of cloth together with natural (India) rubber, the rubber being made soluble by the action of the naphtha. For his various chemical discoveries he was, in 1823, elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1828, he became a partner with James Beaumont Neilson in a firm to exploit the latter’s patent for the hot blast blowing of blast furnaces, which saved considerably on their fuel consumption.

Macintosh married, in 1790, Mary Fisher, daughter of Alexander Fisher a merchant of Glasgow. They had one son, George Macintosh (1791-1848) 

Charles Macintosh died in 1843 at Dunchattan, Scotland, and was buried in the churchyard of Glasgow Cathedral. He is buried with his parents in the ground of his great grandfather, John Anderson of Douhill, Lord Provost of Glasgow. His name is added to the impressive 17th century monument which stands against the eastern boundary wall. A secondary memorial also exists (in polished red granite, dating from the late 19th century) slightly to the north, where Charles is again mentioned on the grave of his son George.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


 

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