Frederick Augustus Abel, British chemist, c 1870s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of Sir Frederick Augustus Abel (1827 -1902). Abel was chemist to the war department and ordnance committees from 1854 to 1888. During this time he worked on explosives, inventing (with Sir James Dewar) the smokeles explosive known as cordite. He also pioneered a new way of manufacturing gun-cotton (a nitrated form of nitrocellulose), and invented the Abel tester which determines the flash-point of petroleum.