Isaac Charles Johnson


Isaac Charles Johnson

Isaac Charles Johnson (28 January 181129 November 1911 [A J Francis, "The Cement Industry 1796-1914: a History",David & Charles, 1977, ISBN 0-7153-7386-2] ) was a British cement manufacturer, and a pioneer of the Portland cement industry.

He was born in London. His father was a charge-hand at Francis & White's "Roman Cement" plant in Nine Elms. He himself worked there as a labourer from age 16. In 1833 he became manager of John Bazeley White's cement plant at Swanscombe on the Thames estuary which at that time was producing "Artificial Cement" and "Roman Cement". In 1841, William Aspdin, the inventor of modern Portland cement, set up a plant at Rotherhithe. Aspdin's product caused a sensation, and Johnson set to work trying to copy it. After nearly two years' work, he succeeded in this, and started marketing his own version. He always claimed that his cement was better than that of Aspdin. Because Aspdin's product was not protected by an explicit patent, Johnson was able to claim until his dying day that he was the inventor of "true" Portland cement, and he is still named as such in some modern texts. See the link for Johnson's (biased!) account of this work.

He left J B White's shortly afterwards, and, setting up his own company, established a succession of cement plants at Frindsbury, Cliffe and Greenhithe in Kent, and acquired William Aspdin's plant at Gateshead, County Durham. He pioneered several innovations, including the production of low-water rawmix slurries, and new designs for kilns. His company remained a relatively large and successful player in the British cement industry for the next 60 years. The Greenhithe plant was uprated with rotary kilns in 1901. In 1911 I C Johnson & Co became a part of the Blue Circle Group, and his Greenhithe plant remained in operation until 1971.

He wrote an autobiography ["Autobiography of Isaac Charles Johnson Esq, JP", Farncombe & Sons, London, 1912.] , published after his death.

Notes

Links

* [http://www.cement.org/learn/secret_excerpt.asp Johnson's notes]
* [http://www.vitruvius.com.br/arquitextos/arq028/arq028_01.asp (includes a photograph of Johnson)]


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