Alexander Parkes

(1813—1890) chemist and inventor

'Alexander Parkes' can also refer to...

Parkes, Alexander (1813–1890)

Edmund Alexander Parkes (1819—1876) physician and hygienist

Parkes, Alexander (1813–90)

Parkes, Alexander (1813-1890), chemist and inventor

Parkes, Edmund Alexander (1819-1876), physician and hygienist

Commentary: Edmund Alexander Parkes, John Snow and the miasma controversy

PARK, Alexander Dallas (1882 - 1971), JP; FIANZ; FRANZ; Company Director

CONNELL, Alexander (1866 - 1920), Minister of Sefton Park Presbyterian Church, Liverpool, since 1906

TROTTER, Alexander Richard (born 1939), JP; Lord-Lieutenant of Berwickshire, 2000–14; Chairman, Meadowhead Ltd (formerly Mortonhall Park Ltd), since 1974

RAE, Wallace (Alexander Ramsay) (1914 - 2006), Agent-General for Queensland, in London, 1974–80; formerly grazier, Ramsay Park, Blackall, Queensland

LYLE, Alexander Park (1849 - 1933), JP; Chairman of the Lyle Shipping Co., Ltd; formerly President of Greenock Philosophical Society and Chamber of Commerce

GREENOAK, Francesca (born 1946), writer; Alexander Teacher: in private practice, since 1999; Tring Park School for the Performing Arts (formerly Arts Educational School), since 2000

HARLEY, Alexander (George Hamilton) (born 1941), Master Gunner, St James’s Park, 2001–08; Senior Military Adviser, Thales Defence Systems, 2003–12

Leitch, Alexander Park (born 1947), Chairman: Intrinsic Financial Services Ltd, since 2005; BUPA, since 2005; Chief Executive, Zurich Financial Services (UKISA Asia Pacific) Ltd, 1998–2004

NIXON, John Alexander (1874 - 1951), Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Bristol; Consulting Physician, Bristol Royal Hospital; Southmead Hospital, Bristol; Bristol Mental Hospital, Hortham and Stoke Park Colonies, etc.; ex-Pres.: Assurance Medical Society; Assoc. of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland; Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Society; Bath and Bristol branch of BMA, Bristol Division of BMA Abernethian Society, London; Fellow Royal Society of Medicine; Temporary Colonel AMS; Consulting Physician BEF France

GRAHAM-STEWART, Alexander (1879 - 1944), Medical Officer in charge of Details, Regent’s Park Barracks, since 1939; late Physician to Lawn House, Convent of the Daughters of the Cross; Orphan Working School, Margate; Medical Officer to Wellington House, Westgate-on-Sea; late Medical Officer in Charge, British Red Cross, Wanstead Auxiliary Military Hospital, Margate, etc.; Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps; Medical Referee to Royal Insurance Company; Scottish Provident Institution; and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, etc.; late Lecturer in Cardio-pathology, Military Hospital, Maghull


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(1813–1890) British chemist and inventor Parkes, the son of a Birmingham lock manufacturer, was apprenticed to a brass founder and started his career in charge of the casting department at Elkington. He took out his first patent, which was for electroplating delicate objects such as works of art, in 1841. Eventually Parkes took out over 50 patents in this field; when the prince consort, Prince Albert, visited Elkington, Parkes presented him with a silver-plated spider's web. In metallurgy, Parkes also invented a process for removing silver from lead by extraction with molten zinc (the Parkes process).

He also worked on rubber and plastics. In 1846 he discovered the cold vulcanization process, which was important in the manufacture of thin-walled rubber articles. In 1855 he took out a number of patents on a new product initially called xylonite (or parkesine). Aiming to produce a synthetic form of horn, Parkes found that if the recently discovered nitrocellulose was mixed with camphor and alcohol, a hornlike substance was produced. It was not fully developed by Parkes however and it was left to the Hyatt brothers of New Jersey to develop it as celluloid, the first synthetic plastic material.

From A Dictionary of Scientists in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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