Sir James Dewar (1842-1923)

Sir James Dewar (1842-1923)

Chemist and physicist 

Sir James Dewar was the inventor of the vacuum flask. He was professor of experimental philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1875, and of chemistry at the Royal Institute in London. Among his other notable achievements was the liquefaction of hydrogen. He died in London on 27 March 1923.

Birth in 1842

James Dewar was born on 20 September 1842, the son of Thomas Dewar and Anne Eadie. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Tulliallan in Perthshire gives only the names of the child and his parents and the date of birth.

Baptism entry for James Dewar

Baptism entry for James Dewar in the OPR for Tulliallan (15 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 397/3, page 47

1851 to 1871 censuses

In 1851 James Dewar, aged 8, a scholar was living with his family at Excise Street in the parish of Tulliallan. The household included his uncle and cousin, a servant and a visitor who was a commercial traveller. His father was an inn keeper.

1851 census entry for James Dewar

Entry for James Dewar in the 1851 census of Tulliallan (83 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1851/397/2, page 19

In 1861 he was aged 18, a medical student and lodging at 15 Dublin Street in Edinburgh. His birthplace is given as Kincardine-on-Forth in Perthshire.

1861 census entry for James Dewar

Entry for James Dewar in the 1861 census of St Andrew, Edinburgh (11 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1861/685-2/36, page 12

In 1871 he was a professor of chemistry, aged 28 and lodging at the same address.

Entry for James Dewar in the 1871 census of St Andrew, Edinburgh (21 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1871/685-2/37, page 9

Marriage in 1871

James Dewar married Helen Rose Banks on 8 August 1871. The entry in the statutory register of marriages for the district of Newington in the City of Edinburgh gives his usual residence as 15 Gilmore Place.

Marriage entry for James Dewar