Concept

Edward Frankland

Summary
Sir Edward Frankland, (18 January 1825 - 9 August 1899) was an English chemist. He was one of the originators of organometallic chemistry and introduced the concept of combining power or valence. An expert in water quality and analysis, he was a member of the second royal commission on the pollution of rivers, and studied London's water quality for decades. He also studied luminous flames and the effects of atmospheric pressure on dense ignited gas, and was one of the discoverers of helium. Edward Frankland was born in Catterall, Lancashire and baptised at Churchtown, Lancashire on 20 February 1825. As his baptismal record shows, his birth was illegitimate. His natural father was Edward Chaddock Gorst, the father of John Eldon Gorst. His mother, Margaret "Peggy" Frankland, later married William Helm, a Lancaster cabinet-maker. "His illegitimacy cast a shadow over all his life since he was pledged to silence as to the identity of his natural father, although a handsome annuity was paid to his mother". From age 3 to 8 Edward lived and was educated in Manchester, Churchtown, Salford and Claughton. In 1833, the family moved to Lancaster and he attended the private school of James Wallasey, where he first took an interest in chemistry, in particular, reading the work of Joseph Priestley borrowed from the Mechanics Institute Library. At age 12, Edward moved to the Lancaster Free Grammar School (later Lancaster Royal Grammar School), that had also educated scientists William Whewell and Sir Richard Owen. According to Frankland himself, his interest in chemistry was furthered by a case held in the court of Lancaster Castle, which was adjacent to the Free Grammar School (then located on Castle Hill, Lancaster). It was an action brought by the Corporation of Liverpool against Mr. Muspratt for committing a nuisance by allowing muriatic acid gas (HCl) to escape from his chemical works in Liverpool. "I was already much interested in chemistry, my step-father allowed me to stay away from school in order to attend the trial" Frankland wished to become a doctor, but the cost of training was "absolutely prohibitive".
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