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James "Paraffin" Young

Strathclyde University Archives

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James "Paraffin" Young

A portrait, painted c 1860, of James "Paraffin" Young (1811-1883), assistant to Thomas Graham at Anderson's University and founder of the Scottish shale oil industry.

Young was born in Glasgow. In 1830 he attended Professor Thomas Graham's lectures at Anderson's University, becoming his assistant in 1832 and following him to University College, London in 1837. He joined the chemical works of James Muspratt in 1838 and Tennants, Clow & Co in 1844. Four years later he established an oil refinery at Alfreton, Derbyshire, and in 1850 he patented a process of extracting oil from cannel coal. He subsequently entered into a partnership for the manufacture of oils from Boghead cannel coal at Bathgate.

In 1861 Young was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 1864 his patent expired, but in 1865 he bought out his business partners and a year later formed Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Co with new works at Addiewell in Bathgate. From 1868 to 1877 he was President of Anderson's University and founded the Young Chair of Technical Chemistry.

Reference: P4/36

Reproduced with the permission of Strathclyde University Archives

Anderson's University, cannel coal, chemical engineering, oil extraction, oil manufacturers, oil refiners, portraits, Royal Society of Edinburgh, shale oil, Tennants, Clow & Co, Young Chair of Technical Chemistry, Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Co

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