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Biographical entry Cuming, James (1) (1861 - 1920)

Portland, Maine, United States of America
31 May 1920
Victoria, Australia
Industrial chemist and Company director


James Cuming was head chemist and later manager of his father's fertiliser company, Cuming Smith and Co. In 1897 Cuming Smith & Co. merged with Felton, Grimwade & Co. and Cuming made gentlemen's agreements with competitors on prices and marketing, formalised in 1907 by the creation of the Victorian Fertilizer Association. He established a wood distillation works at Yarra Junction in 1907 to produce chemicals which were previously imported. Cummings was Founder of the Society of Chemical Industry of Victoria and its President in 1903 and in 1914. He was also President of the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures (1917-1920) and President of Old Melburnians (1918-1919). He is commemorated by a lecture theatre and research laboratory in the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne which was financed by Cuming Smith & Co. Ltd.

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Rosanne Walker