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Sunday, 9 August 2009

Professor Brande

The manufacture of sulphate of ammonia seems to have aroused some interest in the scientific community. Richards reported to the Chartered that he had received an order for sulphate of ammonia from Apothecaries' Hall.

It seems very likely that this order originated from William Brande, who held a professorial appointment there. Brande's other appointment was at the Royal Institution where he undertook research and had fulfilled a number of consultancies on the chemical nature of coal and oil gas. One of the Institution's main interests was in agriculture and Humphrey Davy had undertaken research on agricultural science there. Brande deputised for Davy on the Board of Agriculture.

The Apothecaries Company sponsored research on current scientific developments but a trawl of their minutes for this period has revealed nothing about sulphate of ammonia. These minutes are, however, not detailed on points of this sort and merely record notice of lectures and reports from Brande, but not the content of them. It could be speculated however that Brande and his associates thought that sulphate of ammonia might have an agricultural use and that the request from the Apothecaries' Company was in some way to further research on this.

Brande himself was heavily involved in research into coal gas and had published a number of papers in the contemporary scientific press.

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