Economic botany and the Macintoshes

Items in the Kew Economic Botany Collection relating to George and Charles Macintosh.

Items in the Kew Economic Botany Collection relating to George and Charles Macintosh.

I was fortunate to spend Tuesday at Kew Gardens, interviewing candidates for an AHRC-funded PhD studentship working with the Economic Botany Collection. While I was there, the keepers of the collection were kind enough to look out some specimens relating to the work of George and Charles Macintosh (respectively William Macintosh’s brother and nephew).

Clockwise from the top left, these specimens included: 1) a coutchouc ball and cup; 2) a decorated rubber bottle, 3) a specimen of Macintosh waterproofed fabric, and 4) a bottle of powdered cudbear lichen (of the sort used by George in his cudbear dying works). Most of these were donated by Charles Macintosh & Co. in the mid 1850s

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