Bevan, Edward John 1856 - 1921

English; British

1856-1921, Analytical Chemist

Edward John Bevan was born on the 11th December 1856 at 8 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Cheshire. After attending private schools he became a laboratory assistant at the Runcorn Soap and Alkali Company. He was advised to continue his education and went to Owens College, Manchester, between 1877 and 1879. He then worked for three years for Alexander Cowan & Co. at Musselburgh Paper Mills. At Owens College he had met Charles Frederick Cross and the two chemists joined forces at the Jodrell Laboratory, Kew Gardens, with the aim of exploring the chemistry of cellulose. They went into partnership as analytical chemists at Lincoln's Inn in 1885. Bevan was appointed public analyst for Middlesex county council in 1892. He was president of the Society of Public Analysts in 1905–6, and vice-president of the Institute of Chemistry in 1905–8 and 1914–17.

The interest of Cross and Bevan in the chemistry of cellulose led them to a key patent in May 1892, with their colleague Clayton Beadle (1868–1917). The three partners set up the Viscose Syndicate in 1893, with the aim of producing adhesives, films, coatings for natural fibres, and mouldings, and British Viscoid Ltd followed in 1896. In May 1894 Cross and Bevan patented the manufacture of cellulose acetate, which was later developed and sold as a fibre by the British Celanese Company, in competition with viscose rayon.

He died, unmarried, at 18 Dorset Square, Marylebone, London, on 17 October 1921.