Thursday, 23 June 2016

Week 25: Want to go for a swim?

It is that wonderful time of the year when we think about summer holidays or escaping to the beach or the seaside for an afternoon swim.  I love the water, I love being near it and in it.  

The next best thing to going to the beach is having a back yard pool.  The man who invented a backyard pool was a genius.  And the man who invented a way to keep the pool clean was brilliant!

And what if I told you, that you could thank a Palin for keeping our pools clean!

Arthur Thomas Palin was born in the Crewe district of Cheshire in 1916 to Arthur Palin and Annie Hall.  His early experience in water quality testing and control was in the service of the London Midland & Scottish Railway Co. His work involved the supervision of the water supplies to a number of large railway towns in the U. K., and included checking the purity of the water supply to the Royal Train.

In 1940 he married Mildred Hancock in Crewe and started a new job with the city of Coventry as their first waterworks chemist.  His job was to supervise the wartime operation of the emergency water supply. The treatment problems in converting contaminated raw water sources into drinkable water stimulated his interest in the application of new and safer methods of water treatment.  
It was this need for a greater understanding of the process that triggered Dr. Palin’s classic work on chlorination chemistry and his development of new test procedures. It was at this time that he began developing a simple and reliable purity test, which can be used to check the safety of drinking water, as well as the water in swimming pools and sewers to give maximum efficiency in disinfection with minimum production of unwanted side effects such as objectionable tastes and odors in drinking water and compounds in swimming pool water that cause eye irritation.

He developed a system based upon the use of standardized test tablets, applicable to the treatment control of potable water, swimming pools, sewages and effluents, boiler waters and industrial waters of all types. Wilkinson & Simpson, now Palintest Ltd. contributed to the development of the tablet tests, and in 1960 were granted an exclusive license to manufacture and market the Palintest System of water testing. Palintest is now an international business with offices in China, Australia, Middle East and the USA..

He also developed a test for testing fluoride in water.  You can see the patent here.

"Tom" Palin retired from his position with Newcastle and Gateshead Water Co. in 1977 and joined the Palintest Board. That year saw the inauguration by the company of a new River Tyne Abstraction Scheme. Included in the scheme were new central laboratories, which were named the Palin Laboratories in acknowledgement of Palin’s contributions. 

Other recognitions of  Arthur Thomas Palin’s work include a Gold Medal at the Public Works Congress of 1950, and in the Honours list of 1975 he was given an OBE. At the AWWA conference of 1979, he was made an Honorary Member. He was also awarded the Houston Medal of the Institution of Water Engineers for work of outstanding merit for his work on fluoridation control methods.

Arthur Thomas Palin’s contributions to technical literature have appeared in Canada, Japan, Spain, France, Germany, the U.S. and the U.K. He held a first class degree from London University, was awarded a Ph.D. for his chlorination research and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was an official advisor to the Standard Methods Committee of the AWWA, and an active member of several of its joint task groups and the Research and Water Quality Disinfection committees.

Dr. Arthur Thomas Palin died June 2006, leaving a widow, two children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

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