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Dr. John Roebuck


1718 - 1794

Inventor and entrepreneur, who was a leader of the Industrial Revolution in Scotland. Roebuck was born in Sheffield and educated there and at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. While at Edinburgh he took chemistry lectures from Joseph Black (1728-99), which stimulated his interests in this subject. He began research which enabled improvements to be made in the refining of precious metals and the production of chemicals. In 1749, he set up a plant at Prestonpans for the manufacture of Sulphuric Acid, which was necessary for several industrial processes. He was a friend of James Watt and in 1760 founded the Carron Ironworks with Samuel Garbett and William Cadell. He is also associated with the development of a pottery in Bo'ness where he had coal interests. He lived at Kinneil House, to the west of that town. Having suffered financial problems, he gave up his interests in Watt's steam engines and took up farming in the latter part of his life.

Roebuck lies buried in the Carriden parish kirkyard.


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