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Allen, Ralph (bap. 1693, d. 1764), postal entrepreneur and philanthropist, was baptized on 24 July 1693 in the parish church of St Columb Major in Cornwall, one of four children of Philip Allen (d. 1728). Much remains obscure about his early life, but his father is reputed to have kept an inn in nearby ...

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Ashbridge, Sir Noel (1889–1975), broadcasting engineer, was born on 10 December 1889 in Wanstead, Essex, the fourth son and youngest child of John Ashbridge, solicitor, of Wanstead, and his wife, Sylvia Moore. He was educated at Forest School, Snaresbrook, Essex, and King's College, London...

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Alexander Bain (1810–1877) by Campbell Harper? Science & Society Picture Library

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Bain, Alexander (1810–1877), clockmaker and inventor, was born in October 1810 at Houstry, in the parish of Watten, Caithness, the fifth of eleven children of John Bain, a crofter, and his wife, Isobel Waiter. After a basic education at the local village school, ...

Article

S. E. Fryer

revised by Anita McConnell

Baines, Frederick Ebenezer (1832–1911), promoter of telegraphy, was born on 10 November 1832 and baptized at Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire, on 19 January 1834. He was the younger son of Edward May Baines, surgeon, of Hendon and Chipping Barnet and his wife, Fanny.

Educated at private schools, ...

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John Logie Baird (1888–1946) by Howard Coster, 1935 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Baird, John Logie (1888–1946), television engineer, was born on 13 August 1888 at The Lodge, West Argyle Street, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, the youngest of the four children of the Revd John Baird, minister of the West Parish Church, Helensburgh, and his wife, Jessie Morrison Inglis...

Article

See under Benn, Anthony Neil Wedgwood [Tony], second Viscount Stansgate

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Bishop, Sir Harold (1900–1983), broadcasting engineer, was born on 29 October 1900, at 57 Rosebery Road, Clapham, London, the third son of Henry Thomas Bishop, a builder, and his wife, Mary Ann Ellis. He was educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich, and on leaving school took an apprenticeship with ...

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Sir (Stevenson) Arthur Blackwood (1832–1893) by Elliott & Fry, 1890 Howarth-Loomes Collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blackwood, Sir (Stevenson) Arthur (1832–1893), secretary of the Post Office, was born at Rosslyn Lodge, The Grove, Hampstead, on 22 May 1832, the only son of Arthur Johnstone Blackwood (1808–1874), groom of the privy chamber, and Cecilia Georgiana (d. 1881), daughter of the ...

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Bray, (William) John (1911–2004), telecommunications engineer, was born on 10 September 1911 at 198 Walmer Road, Kingston, Portsmouth, one of the two sons of William James Bray, an engine room artificer on HMS Achilles, and his wife, Emily Eliza, née Clothier. The family moved to ...

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Brett, John Watkins (1805–1863), art collector and telegraph engineer, was born in Bristol, one of at least seven children of William Brett, cabinet-maker. By the age of twelve his enthusiasm for the fine arts was so great that his parents put him under the tuition of ...

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Bright, Sir Charles Tilston (1832–1888), telegraph engineer, was born at Wanstead, Essex, on 8 June 1832, the third and youngest son of Brailsford Bright, a manufacturing chemist, and his wife, Emma Charlotte, the daughter of Edward Tilston. He was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School...

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Brooke, Sir William O'Shaughnessy (1808–1889), doctor and promoter of telegraphy in India, was born William O'Shaughnessy at Limerick in October 1808, the son of Daniel S. O'Shaughnessy of Limerick and his wife, Sara, née Boswell. His uncle was dean of Ennis and his great-uncle Roman Catholic bishop of ...

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C. M. (fl. 1753), supposed projector of the electric telegraph, is an illusory figure, the offspring of credulity and wishful thinking. In 1753 the Scots Magazine published a letter purporting to show how messages could be transmitted over a distance of some yards, by directing electric current to a sequence of wires, each representing a letter of the alphabet, enabling the equivalent letters to be read off at the far end. The letter, dated ...

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[Anon.]

revised by C. R. Perry

Chalmers, James (1782–1853), Post Office reformer, was born in Arbroath on 2 February 1782, and at an early age became a bookseller in Castle Street, Dundee, and was for some time the printer and publisher of the Dundee Chronicle. He married a Miss Dickson...

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Clark, Alfred Corning (1873–1950), record and electrical goods manufacturer, was born in New York, USA, on 19 December 1873, the elder son of Walter Lowry Clark, a chocolate manufacturer, and his wife, Mary Rowe. His parents' families were both of English extraction and his background was distinctly patrician—his great-uncle had been a ...

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Cole, Eric Kirkham (1901–1966), radio engineer, was born at 14 Windsor Road, Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on 4 July 1901, the only child of Henry Cole, a dairyman, and his wife, Alice Laura, née Kirkham. He was educated at Southend Day Technical School and, after serving a three-year apprenticeship, went into partnership with his father as an electrical engineer. He set up his own business in 1922, making radio receivers to take advantage of the demand following the foundation of the ...

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Sir William Fothergill Cooke (1806–1879) by unknown photographer, 1870s Heritage Images Partnership