29 December 1766|
25 July 1843 (aged 76)|
Waterproof fabric |
Invented the waterproof raincoat in 1824
Charles Macintosh FRS (29 December 1766 – 25 July 1843) was a Scottish chemist and the inventor of waterproof fabric. The Mackintosh raincoat (the variant spelling is now standard) is named after him.
Macintosh was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of George Macintosh and Mary Moore, and was first employed as a clerk. Charles devoted his spare time to science, particularly chemistry, and before he was 20 resigned his clerkship to take up the manufacture of chemicals. In this he was highly successful and invented various new processes. His experiments with naphtha (one of the byproducts of tar) led to his invention of waterproof fabric; the essence of his patent was the cementing of two thicknesses of cloth together with natural rubber. The rubber is made soluble by the action of the naphtha.
Macintosh married Mary Fisher in 1790, daughter of Alexander Fisher, a Glasgow merchant. They had one son, George Macintosh (1791–1848). In 1823, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society for his chemical discoveries. 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.
Charles died in 1843 and was buried in the Glasgow Cathedral graveyard. 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 17th century monument which stands against the eastern boundary wall. A late 19th century secondary memorial also exists, in polished red granite, slightly to the north, where Charles is again mentioned on the grave of his son, George.
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- "Charles Macintosh: Chemist who invented the world-famous waterproof raincoat". The Independent. 30 December 2016.
- "From Charles Mackintosh's waterproof to Dolly the sheep: 43 innovations Scotland has given the world". The independent. 30 December 2016.
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