Arthur Albright Biography

(1811–1900), ODNB


Chemist and phosphorus manufacturer, well known for his philanthropic views, born on 3 March 1811 in Charlbury, Oxfordshire, into a Quaker family. He was the son of William Albright and Rachel Tanner. In 1842 he joined the firm of John and Edward Sturge, manufacturing chemists in Birmingham. He was responsible for the development of Anton Schrotter's (180275) method of producing red phosphorus, important for the use of safety matches. This interest grew out of a concern for the health of match workers. In 1854 Albright took over a phosphorus plant previously belonging to the Sturge brothers, in Oldbury, Worcestershire. In 1856 he went into partnership with J. W. Wilson. Their firm survived until the middle of the 20th century.

Throughout his life Albright travelled in Europe, Egypt, and the United States seeking new sources of raw materials and trying to expand his export trade. When the Civil War broke out in the United States (1861), he worked at getting financial and material support for emancipated slaves. In his life he was also concerned with alleviating the slavelike conditions of black people in the West Indies. Furthermore, following the FrancoPrussian War, he tried to alleviate distress in France. And he also became an active member of the Arbitration Society. Albright married in 1848 and died on 3 July 1900 at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London. He was buried at Witton, Birmingham.