With information taken from Dictionary of National Biography and Henry Lonsdale's "The Worthies of Cumberland" (1867-75)
Born on 25th December 1796
at Alston, Cumberland, son of Thomas Pattinson, a retail
trader, and Margaret Lee. He gained some knowledge of
electricity and at the age of seventeen constructed some
electrical devices. He also studied chemistry especially
in connection with metallurgy.
1821 Employed as clerk and
assistant to Anthony Clapham, a soap boiler in Newcastle.
1822 Pattinson joined the
Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle.
1825 He became assay master
to the lords of the manor at Alston.
1829 Pattinson discovered
an easy method for separating the silver from lead ore but
did not have the funds to complete his research.
1831 Appointed manager of
the lead works of Mr Wentworth Beaumont where he had the opportunity
to perfect his method of desilverising lead which was patented
1834 He resigned his post
and, in partnership with John Lee and George Burnett, established
a chemical works at Felling, Gateshead and afterwards at Washington.
His process for extracting the silver from lead allowed the working of lead mines that had been deemed too uneconomic to run.
He also invented a simple method for obtaining white lead, and a process for manufacturing Magnesia Alba. (Patented 1841)
1838 Became vice president
of the British Association, a fellow of the Geological Society.
1839-40 Visited America
to investigate an offered mining speculation.
1852 Elected fellow of
the Royal Society in June.
1858 Retired from business
to study astronomy, mathematics and physics. Soon after this
he died at his home, Scot's House near Gateshead, and was
buried in Washington.