John Roebuck

(1718—1794) ironmaster

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(1718–94). An entrepreneur and inventor, Roebuck was born in Sheffield, studied in Edinburgh, and took a medical degree at Leiden. His early efforts in Birmingham led to a partnership with Samuel Garbett to produce sulphuric acid. He then set up a factory at Prestonpans to make sulphuric acid, then pottery, and finally cast iron. In 1760 he opened the Carron ironworks near Stirling, using pit-coal rather than charcoal, and specializing in ordnance. For many years Carron was the largest British foundry. Roebuck's later venture into coal-mining proved disastrous, despite collaboration with James Watt to try to prevent flooding. His grandson was the radical MP John Arthur Roebuck.

From The Oxford Companion to British History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: British History.

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