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Augustus Voelcker

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Nationality  German
Books  Cheese Experiments
Fields  Chemist
Role  Chemist
Name  Augustus Voelcker

Augustus Voelcker
Born  24 September 1822 Frankfurt am Main (1822-09-24)
Known for  Royal Agricultural Society of England
Influences  Friedrich Wohler Justus von Liebig Gerardus Johannes Mulder James Finlay Weir Johnston
Died  December 5, 1884, London, United Kingdom
Influenced by  Friedrich Wohler, Justus von Liebig, Gerardus Johannes Mulder, James Finlay Weir Johnston

Augustus Voelcker FRS (24 September 1822 – 5 December 1884), full name John Christopher Augustus Voelcker, was a Royal Agricultural Society of England chemist. Voelcker was known for his methodical and precise analytical practices as applied to agricultural chemistry.


After working as a pharmacist's assistant in Frankfurt am Main until 1842, then in a similar capacity in Schaffhausen until 1844, Voelcker entered University of Göttingen where he studied chemistry under professor Friedrich Wöhler. He also attended University of Giessen, where the German chemist Justus von Liebig lectured on agricultural chemistry. He went to Utrecht in 1846 to work as assistant to professor Gerardus Johannes Mulder where Voelcker studied the chemistry of animal and vegetable production. In 1847 he went to Edinburgh as assistant to James Finlay Weir Johnston, the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland's chemist at the time. Whilst in Edinburgh, he lectured at Durham University and also became friends with the chemist George Wilson. From 1849, as the first professor of chemistry at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Voelcker lectured on such topics as sewage.

Voelcker was recruited as consultant chemist to the Royal Bath and West of England Society by Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 11th Baronet in about 1849. He was appointed consultant chemist to the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in 1855, a post he held until 1863, although he continued to maintain connections with the society. Voelcker contributed to the society's journal and lectured throughout the area. He was well aware of agricultural economics, for, as he said

any good analytical chemist can ascertain the exact amount of the different constituents of the manure, and, knowing the market price at which they can be. Retrieved separately, he is enabled to calculate with tolerable accuracy its commercial value

He set up a private consulting practice in London in 1863; he provided advice in many fields including sewage, water and gas supply, river pollution, and agricultural holdings. For example, by using the cost of ammonia as nine pence per pound, and the cost of phosphates as two pence per pound, an 1885 book reported Voelcker as calculating the annual value of excrement per adult as nine shillings (worth 44 pound sterling in 2017). He was elected chairman of the London Farmers Club in 1875.

Voelcker's fourth son was Arthur Francis Voelcker, MD, FRCP (1861–1946).


Augustus Voelcker Wikipedia

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