THE technical partner of the firm of John & James White of
Shawfield Chemical Works is a son of Mr. Robert Chrystal, insurance broker, and
grandson of Dr. Chrystal, rector of Glasgow Grammar School. His mother was a
daughter of the late John White, Sen., founder of the Shawfield firm. He was
born in Glasgow in 1854, and was educated at Glasgow Academy and High School, at
Loretto, and at Glasgow University. At college, with a view to his future
career, he made special study in the classes of Dr. Anderson, Professor of
Chemistry; then in 1873 he entered the laboratory of Messrs. Wallace, Tatlock &
Clark, where by several years' work he ripened his chemical knowledge. He
entered Shawfield Works therefore as an expert chemist, and a few years later,
on the death of his uncle, the second John White, he assumed the duties of
technical partner. To-day the firm consists of himself and his cousin, Mr. Hill
Hamilton Barrett, who takes charge of the commercial side of the business.
Shawfield Works are the largest and oldest of their kind in the world, their chief productions being the bichromates of potash and soda used in alizarine making, paints, printing, dyes, tanning, electricity, etc. Mr. Chrystal is the inventor of many improvements in the processes of manufacture, and is patentee in particular of crystallized bichromate of soda. His services to chemical science have been acknowledged in the scientific press from time to time, and it is largely through his efforts and inventions that Shawfield Works have expanded to their present size. He is a Fellow of the Chemical Society and of the Institute of Chemistry, and has been Treasurer of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch of the Society of Chemical Industry. He is also a member of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, and is Chairman of the Royal Exchange. He has taken an active interest in the affairs of the Graham Society, the Society of Sons of the Rock, and Glasgow Philosophical Society. Yachting, shooting, and driving are his recreations, and his travels have carried him practically round the world. A few years ago he acquired the estate of Auchendennan on Loch Lomondside, and has almost entirely reconstructed the mansion-house.
Mr. Chrystal married Marion Lennox, daughter of the late John Alexander, Glasgow, and has two sons and two daughters.
Index of Glasgow Men (1909)