John Roebuck, English chemist and manufacturer, c 1765.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
John Roebuck (1718-1794) invented the lead-chamber proces for sulphuric acid. The lead-chambers were vesels consisting of sheets of lead set into wooden frames. Roebuck set up his first plant in 1746, quickly followed by a larger plant at Prestonpans near Edinburgh. He then began producing iron at the Carron ironworks near Falkirk, becoming one of the great names in the history of ironmaking.