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Cooper, Thomas (22 October 1759–11 May 1839), lawyer, chemist, and educator, was born in London, England, the son of Thomas Cooper, a relatively wealthy landowner. The name of his mother is not known. Young Cooper attended University College at Oxford, where he was grounded in the classics. He left the university in 1779, refusing to sign the thirty-nine Articles of Faith required for a formal degree. In that year he married Alice Greenwood and attended medical courses in London in 1780. The couple, who eventually had five children, moved to Manchester. Cooper undertook some clinical work and was active in the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society; he was elected vice president in 1785. A growing familiarity with chemistry led him to join a firm of calico-printers near Bolton, his subsequent home. The discovery of the bleaching activity of chlorine in 1785 led Cooper to explore the production of the agent with James Watt. He practiced industrial bleaching successfully for some three years before 1793, when a depression in British trade caused the bankruptcy of his firm....

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Ewbank, Thomas (11 March 1792–16 September 1870), commissioner of patents, inventor, and historian of technology, was born in Durham, England. Little is known of Ewbank’s parentage or early life. He was apprenticed to a “Tin and Coppersmith, Plumb and Shot Maker” for seven years, and in 1812 he made his way to London, where he joined several literary associations sympathetic to the English liberal reformers of the period. In 1819 Ewbank emigrated to the United States, and in 1826, his wife, Mary, and the first of their six children followed, joining him in New York. There he began his professional career as an inventor and manufacturer of tin and copper tubing, occupying the late ...

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Fowler, Joseph Smith (31 August 1820–01 April 1902), educator, lawyer, and senator, was born in Steubenville, Ohio, the son of James Fowler and Sarah Atkinson, farmers. He was brought up on their farm and attended local schools. After teaching for a time in Shelby County, Kentucky, to earn money for further schooling, he attended Franklin College in New Athens, Ohio, graduating in 1843. Returning to Kentucky, he taught school in Bowling Green and studied law....