Google doodle
Google commemorates the 250th anniversary of the birthday of Charles McIntosh who invented the substance that made fabrics waterproof Google

This time of year in Britain, people are well used to rain so it is fitting that Google marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of the man who tried to keep us all dry.

The chemist Charles Macintosh grew up in Glasgow and was obsessed with experimenting with chemicals. His Eureka moment happened when he discovered naphtha, a by-product of tar, which could dissolve in India rubber.

He found that the resulting paste mixture could repel water and led to a substance that could be put between pieces of cloth. The waterproof fabric he managed to patent in 1823 has been used around the world ever since.

However his invention was not without controversy, and it was later claimed that he had stolen the method from another Scotsman, James Syme, criticism which would have bounced off him like the drops do off the Google Doodle image of him.

Initially tailors were reluctant to use it, especially when they saw it got stiff in hot weather and the stitches in the material meant water could leak in. But when Macintosh set up his own company, the fabric was improved upon when vulcanised rubber was added to it.

The mac is now, the pun very much intended, an umbrella term for any raincoat.

Many developments were added to the product, including the letter k to the company, which is known as Mackintosh. It has been owned by Dunlop Rubber since 1925 and the company had sales of £7.8m in the year to March 2016.

Macintosh died in 1843 at Dunchattan, Scotland and was buried in the churchyard of Glasgow Cathedral.