H. Gray & Son

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H.Gray & Son. Federation University Historical Collection Cat. No. 12141. (Gift of Peter Spark)

Contents

Background

Hugh Gray lectured in electricity and galvanism at the Carlton Mechanics' Institute. He invented a new medical galvanic apparatus in October 1850 for treating obstinate cases of rheumatism, deafness and paralysis. He spent his late 20s and early 30s lecturing around Glasgow, Scotland. On emigrating to Australia in the early 1850s Gray first settled in Geelong before coming to Ballarat. Hugh Gray operated as a blacksmith in Main Road, Ballarat East from 1853 to at least 1857.[1]

H. Gray & Son were philosophical instrument makers and repairers according to the advertisements on their shopfront in Dana Street in the 1880s. They also described themselves as mechanists. Around 1852 Gray described himself as a carpenter, blacksmith and turner.[2]

History

In 1876 the business premises of Hugh Gray & Son was situated in 43 Dana Street. On their letterhead of that year they advertised beams and scales, weighing machines and weights, sewing machines, water metres and steam gauges, etc.(1) According to an invoice dated 19 February 1873 and 8 Oct 1878, their address was listed as 41 Dana Street. This building is still in existence in 2012.[3]

Site

H. Gray & son occupied the premises at Dana Street from 1866 until 19 February 1887 when the contents were sold at an auction held in Melbourne described as a "valuable collection of chemical and philosophical apparatus and books".[4]

Innovations

Hugh Gray had a very inquiring mind. After experimenting with electricity and galvanism in Scotland, he experimented on the eucalypti in Australia and received a First Class Certificate and Silver Medal at the 1862 Melbourne Exhibition for pyroligeous acids and other extracts from those wood, including eucalyptus oil. He invented a gold saving apparatus which was successful.[5] Hugh Gray was the chairman of the Grand Exhibition Science and Art show in August 1863 at the Ballarat Mechanics' Institute where he explained the purification of silver, preformed chemical experiments including those involving explosive gases, and displayed the process of glass blowing. He showed samples of vinegar and an air pump and an electrical machine, the brass work of which was made from the remnants of the notorious fire at Bentley's Hotel prior to the Eureka Affair.[6] Gray displayed a series of bottles containing various products of the eucalypti described in the Ballarat Star as "without doubt ... the most important features of the exhibition [which] suggest many openings for the profitable investment of capital". Mundic a compound of iron, sulphur, and arsenic caused much debate in 1863 with Hugh Gray writing vigorously to the local paper. Roasting mundic in furnaces with free access of common air readily unites the sulphur and arsenic with oxygen forming sulphurous acid and arsenious acid which enable gold to be extracted. This was a dangerous process to which Hugh Gray was opposed. He stated it would be "better to lose the gold than health".[7]

Community Involvement

In 1866 Gray was involved with the Ballarat District Exhibition at the Mechanics' Institute. He delivered many lectures and had microscopes on display allowing people to view many different interesting objects. The local newspaper reported that "Mr Hugh Gray exhibits a large variety of chemical pipes, phials, pots, furnaces, and what not, besides a host of chemicals themselves, apparatus for composing and decomposing, air pump, assaying furnace, blowpipe furnaces - things with which to distil and condense, blow to pieces and collect together again - all spread out to view, and the diabolical arts are still further illustrated, by the exhibitor himself during the evening as he, like a veritable alchemist of old, sets his crucibles, tubes, phials, pots and other mysteries to work to the delight or terror of beholders". [8]

Gray also held a lecture on chemistry, illustrated by a number of interesting experiments, at the Ballarat Commercial College in August 1868.[9] The Philosophical Association of Ballarat was founded by Hugh Gray on 14 March 1869.[10]

Works Produced

Workplace Relations

The People

Hugh Gray and his son Charles (also a skilled blacksmith) executed all kinds of iron, steel and brass work, repaired mathematical instruments, and constructed and repaired clocks.[11]

Legacies

One of Hugh Gray's clocks is still in the family.[12]

See also

Recommended Reading

Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants

References

  1. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  2. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  3. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  4. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  5. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  6. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  7. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  8. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  9. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  10. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  11. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants
  12. Spark, Peter. (2008.) Scotland to Ballarat: The Story of Hugh Gray, Elizabeth Gray and their descendants


Further Reading

External Links


--Dr Dorothy Wickham 16:42, 8 August 2012 (EST)

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