Born in Schaffhausen in Switzerland in 1844, Hurter graduated Ph.D. from Heidelberg University having studied chemistry under Robert Bunsen and physics under Gustav Kirchoff. He came to England in 1867, becoming chief chemist with Gaskell-Deacon & Co in Widnes. He was soon to become an accepted world authority on the production of alkali and his pre-eminence in the field was reflected in the Society of Chemical Industry endowing the Hurter memorial Lecture in his name. He was also a pioneer in the development of the chemical aspects of photography, working with his colleague at Gaskell-Deacon, Vero Charles Driffield. They were awarded the Progress Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in 1898.
Hurter also campaigned vigorously for the introduction of the metric system into Britain.
He moved to Liverpool in the 1890's, living in Cressington Park at No. 1 Eaton Road.
This was Hurter's home at the time of his death in 1898 aged 53.
For those interested in the technical aspects of Hurter's career there is an interesting Ph.D. thesis available online (an Evaluation of Ferdinand Hurter's Contribution to the Development of the Alkali Industry in the 19th Century - Cyril Townsend. Liverpool JMU.) General biographies are available at Wikipedia and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
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