Frederick Crace-Calvert was a renowned Manchester ndustrial and analytical chemist. He was born in London on 14 November 1819, the son of Alfred Crace (1782-1847), who later adopted the surname Crace-Calvert, and his wife Sarah Ann Trery (d.1836). In 1835, at the age of 16, he is known to have moved to France where he studied chemistry and worked alongside a number of notable chemists gaining valuable experience in the field. He studied at Rouen under Professor Jean Pierre Louis Girardin (1803-1884), who held the chair of chemistry there, for two years and continued his studies in Paris at the Jardin des Plantes, the Sorbonne, Collége de France, and Ecole de Médicine. He was later employed by the chemical company of Robiquet, Boyveau, and Pelletier and from 1841 until he left France in 1846 he assisted the eminent chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889) both at Gobelins and Jardin des Plantes and the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
He returned to England in 1846 and established himself in Manchester and in 1847 was appointed Honorary Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Manchester Institution where he lectured regularly from his laboratory. Working alongside the local textiles industry in Manchester and the surrounding areas Calvert was involved with such practices as calico-printing and the operation of a company for the conditioning of silk and wool. As well as his interest in the application of chemistry to industry he held a great interest in the application of chemistry to public health and medicine and is known to have been closely associated with many Manchester physicians, to have taught at the Pine Street Medical School, and to have given joint lectures alongside the founder of the Manchester Royal School of Medicine, Thomas Turner (1793-1873) at the Royal Manchester Institution. His investigations into putrefaction undertaken in the late 1850s/early 1860s were begun at the request of the MRI's House Surgeon, Joseph Atkinson Ransome (1805-1867).
Whilst in Manchester he discovered the first commercially viable method of manufacturing carbolic acid (phenol) suitable for medical use and Calvert's production of carbolic acid in its pure form was instrumental in facilitating the work of Joseph Lister (1827-1912) on antiseptic surgery. Even before the publication of Lister's findings in 1867, Calvert had been heavily involved in the promotion of the use of carbolic acid as a disinfectant and recognised the potential benefits it could bring in terms of public health. He had first been introduced to the idea of the production of disinfecting fluids as a student in France working alongside chemist and health official J. Ledoyen and together Calvert and Ledoyen worked to promote their disinfecting fluid and tested it out on British warships. In 1859 he established his own company, F. C. Calvert & Co., and over time his company focused its efforts on the use of carbolic acid in household soaps and disinfectants as well as working closely with the textile industry in the production of dyes and bleaches.
On 9 June 1859 he was elected a fellow of The Royal Society and in 1864 delivered a lecture on "Chemistry Applied to the Arts" as part of the Royal Society's first series of Cantor Lectures in industrial technology. During his career he made numerous contributions to both British and French scientific journals on subjects relating to applied chemistry.
He was married to a Frenchwoman, Jeanne Françoise Clemence Crace-Calvert, who died in Sussex in 1894. They are not known to have had any children. Frederick Crace-Calvert died on 24 October 1873 at his home Clayton Vale House, Newton Heath, near Manchester, after contracting typhoid on a trip to Vienna earlier that year where he had gone to serve as a juror at the 1873 International Exhibition.