Sunday, 19 March 2017

Another link between William Younger and Carlsberg

Do you remember me posting about Carl Jacobsen, son of the Carlsberg founder, serving an apprenticeship at William Younger in the 1860's? It seem that the relationship between the two breweries didn't end there.

Because almost 30 years later John Simpson Ford, who set up the laboratory at William Younger, spent some time in Copenhagen. Reading between the lines of the report below, it's obvious Ford must have been at Carlsberg. Kjeldahl and Hansen both worked at the Carlsberg Laboratory.

—The death has occurred of Mr John Simpson Ford, F.R.S.E., F.R.I.C., scientific director of Messrs William Younger & Co., Edinburgh. Mr Ford was educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh University, where he studied as a medical student and after passing certain professional examinations he abandoned medicine for chemistry. After a session in the laboratory of Edinburgh University under Professor Crum Brown, he was awarded the Hope Prize Scholarship as the most distinguished laboratory student of the year. For two years he remained as junior assistant and demonstrator and in 1889 he was appointed chemist to William Younger & Co. In this capacity he had to create and organise a laboratory and devise methods of analysis and control, as at that time there was little or no science of brewing in this country. In 1895 he spent three months in Copenhagen, where he met Kjeldahl and Hansen and was able to bring the scientific methods he learned there into the process of brewing in the Abbey Brewery, Edinburgh. Mr Ford became the scientific director of William Younger & Co., and was largely concerned in organising the scientific development of brewing. His great work in chemical research was recognised by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, who elected him a member, and by the Institute of Brewing with the award of the Horace Brown Memorial Medal, the highest honour which it can confer on its scientific and technical members."
The Scotsman - Wednesday 29 March 1944, page 3.

For an ambitious brewing chemist, the Carlsberg Laboratory would be an obvious place to spend time. It was at the forefront of brewing research. It still is today.

I have to admit that I experienced a weird thrill when I was there last year. Standing in Kjeldahl and Hansen's laboratory, which has been left as it was.

The Carlsberg Laboratory isn't just a room or two in the corner of the brewery. It's a whole complex of buildings housing dozens of scientists. It must Carlsberg a fair few bob to run it. And much of their research, as a century ago, is of use to the whole brewing world, not just Carlsberg. It's easy top slag off big breweries, but they have been responsible for most of the advances in brewing science.


Ed said...

He also had a hop named after him!

The Beer Nut said...

While on the other hand: green glass bottles.