John Walker life and biography

John Walker picture, image, poster

John Walker biography

Date of birth : 1781-05-29
Date of death : 1859-05-01
Birthplace : Stockton-on-Tees, England
Nationality : British
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2010-04-07
Credited as : chemist , Inventor of the friction match in 1827,

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John Walker was an English chemist from Stockton-on-Tees, who in 1826 accidentally invented the friction match by mixing potassium chlorate and antimony sulfide.

The first recorded sale from his store was 7 April 1827 under the name 'Sulphurata Hyper-Oxygenata Frict.' The second recorded sale was 7 September 1827 under the more familiar name 'friction lights'. Apart from three recorded sales during 1828 under the name of 'attrition lights' all other recorded sales were for 'friction lights'. He met and corresponded with Michael Faraday, FRS and was encouraged to protect his invention by him and others but Walker refused to patent his invention preferring instead to pursue his scientific studies. He did not divulge the exact composition of his matches.

He had a local reputation as a botanist, he developed an interest in the study of mineralogy, and spent a lot of time doing chemical experiments. Walker never married and lived with his niece. He was well known for his set style of dress, a tall beaver hat, white cravat, grey stockings, drab knee breeches, and brown tail-coat. He died in 1859 in Stockton-on-Tees, and buried in the grounds of St Mary's Church in nearby Norton.


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