Protecting wood and killing germs: ‘Burnett's Liquid’ and the origins of the preservative and disinfectant industries in early Victorian Britain

  title={Protecting wood and killing germs: ‘Burnett's Liquid’ and the origins of the preservative and disinfectant industries in early Victorian Britain},
  author={David McLean},
  journal={Business History},
  pages={285 - 305}
  • D. McLean
  • Published 1 April 2010
  • Business
  • Business History
Discovering chemicals as disinfectants and for timber preservation offered profitable opportunities in the early nineteenth century. After 1839 Sir William Burnett promoted his pioneering patent for zinc chloride – attempting to persuade both fellow medical practitioners and the Admiralty of its widespread uses. Trials in the navy, among migrants to Canada in 1847–48, and during Britain's 1849 cholera epidemic were all intended to demonstrate the ability of his product to contain disease, while… 
1 Citations
Abstract This article argues that smell's place in nineteenth-century medicine and public health was distinctly ambiguous. Standard narratives in the history of smell argue that smell became less


A Century of Wood Preserving
AT the present time, when a renewed interest in the scientific study of wood preservation is being shown in Great Britain, it is well to recall that this country was a pioneer in this work, and the
The weight of wood reduces due to loss of moisture, density, retention, penetration of preservatives into wood due to pressure in the cylinder, and the penetration is more or less uniform throughout the surfaces.
Robert Angus Smith, F. R. S. and ‘sanitary science’
IN the library of the old Chemistry Department in Manchester University stood the busts of three ‘great chemists’, Lavoisier, Dalton, and Angus Smith. History has dealt less kindly with Smith than
The Disinfection of Scarlet Fever and Other Infectious Diseases by Antiseptic Inunction
  • H. K. Lewis
  • Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Journal (1883)
  • 1892
In this essay the author claims that scarlet fever, if treated by inunction with the essential oil of eucalyptus, may be prevented from spreading without isolation, and, as a rule, in ten days. This
Listerism , its Decline and its Persistence : the Introduction of aseptic surgical Techniques in three British Teaching Hospitals , 1890-99
The view that Joseph Lister's introduction of antisepsis was a revolutionary act is an old one. Thus John Tyndall wrote in 1881 "Living germs . . . as Schwann was the first to prove, are the causes
Insurance against Germ Theory: Commerce and Conservatism in Late-Victorian Medicine
  • T. Alborn
  • Medicine
    Bulletin of the history of medicine
  • 2001
The role played by commercial life insurance companies in determining the response to tuberculosis in Britain between 1865 and 1920 is highlighted, highlighting the institutional prominence of insurance as a technique for coping with medical uncertainty.
Public Health and Politics in the Age of Reform: Cholera, the State and the Royal Navy in Victorian Britain
Cholera was the scourge of nineteenth century Britain, with four devastating epidemics sweeping the country from the 1830s to the 1860s. David McLean provides a detailed study of the efforts of local
The cattle plague of 1865 and the reception of "the germ theory" in mid-Victorian Britain.
  • T. M. Romano
  • Medicine
    Journal of the history of medicine and allied sciences
  • 1997
La theorie du germe a l'origine de la peste bovine est analysee, en demontrant que la recherche britannique en bacteriologie n'associe pas systematiquement l'action d'un microorganisme parasite a une
William Crookes (1832-1919) and the Commercialization of Science
Contents: Introduction Preliminary: a chemist at work A tailor's son Photographic chemist. The making of an editor Earning a living Thallium Carbolic and cattle plague Selling science, 1865a "75