15.2.1817 Glasgow/UK - 12.5.1884 Colwyn Bay/UK
Robert Angus Smith was educated at Glasgow University. From 1840 he was a tutor in private families from where he was taken to Germany, where his ardor for sciences arose. He met the great chemist Justus Liebig and was able to study under him chemistry. One year later he returned to England and accepted a position at the University of Manchester where he remained for the rest of life.
Smith eventually developed into a pioneer of the sanitary science. He set up in 1845 as a consulting chemist and was elected to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society to become nineteen years later its president. He researched into the atmospheric conditions in towns where he contributed the Air and rain paper, and he invented an apparatus called the finger-pump to measure impurities in the air. In 1848 he was granted a patent for the now famous solution for coating metal pipes. In 1868, Smith described this process in detail relating to new cast-iron pipes which were heated to 500° F before oxidation had commenced, and is then dipped perpendicularly into a bath containing a hot mixture of pitch and heavy coal oil of 430° F. After a few minutes the pipe is raised and the surplus composition runs off; a black shining varnish remains on both inside and outside surfaces of the pipe and even penetrates deeply into the pores of the iron. Smith was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1857 and in 1869 was appointed chief inspector under the Alkali Act. From 1876 he examined the polluted waters and sewage effluents and wrote two noteworthy reports on the subject. These marked the climax of his work in sanitary science, for he was never of robust constitution, and his health broke down after 1882. Smith became also an Honorary Doctorate from Glasgow University in 1881 and from Edinburgh University in 1882.
Anonymous (1958). Dr. Angus Smith. Journal Institution of Water Engineers 12: 145-147. P
Kargon, R.H. (1977). Science in Victorian Manchester. University Press: Manchester.
Smith, R.A. (1855). On sewage and sewage rivers. Memoirs Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester Ser. 212: 155-175.
Smith, R.A. (1869). Disinfectants and disinfection. Edinburgh.
Smith, R.A. (1872). Air and rain: Beginnings of chemical climatology. Longmans & Green: London.
Smith, R.A. (1883). A centenary of science in Manchester. Memoirs Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester Ser. 3, 9: 1-475.
Smith, R.A., Coleman, J.J. (1884). The life and works of Thomas Graham FRS. Smith & Sons: Glasgow.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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