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Glasgow University Archive Services, GUM

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An advertisement from Glasgow University Magazine 4 December 1889, for the optician and instrument maker James White (1824-1884).

The firm was founded in Glasgow in 1850. White worked closely with the Professor of Natural Pholsophy William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin, supplying apparatus for his laboratory at the University of Glasgow, and was involved in the production of sophisticated sounding machinery that Thomson had designed for use in laying cables at sea.

From 1876, an increasingly important part of the business was in producing accurate compasses for metal ships to Thomson's design. White also manufactured a whole range of more conventional instruments such as spectacles, telescopes, microscopes and surveying equipment.

When White died the firm continued to make Thomson’s compass, with the Admiralty as their largest customer, and became increasingly involved in the design, production and sale of electrical apparatus. In 1900, the newly formed Kelvin & James White acquired the business of James White. In 1913, Kelvin & James White Ltd became Kelvin Bottomley & Baird.

Reference: Glasgow University Archive Services, DC198/2

Glasgow University Archive Services

advertisements, eyeglasses, Glasgow University Magazine, GUM, Kelvin & James White Ltd, Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Ltd, microscopes, opticians, scientific instrument makers, scientists, telescopes, University of Glasgow

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