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Alfred Henry Darker

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Alfred Henry Darker (1872-1931)


1931 Obituary [1]

ALFRED HENRY DARKER was born in Queensland, Australia, in 1872.

His early engineering training included a period in the drawing office and works of the Queensland Government Railways, of which his father was subsequently Chief Mechanical Engineer.

Thence he came to England and was a pupil under Mr. (now Sir Henry) Fowler of the Midland Railway, and he attended a five years' course of electrical engineering at Finsbury Technical College under Professor Sylvanus Thompson.

From the Midland Railway he entered the employ of Messrs. J. Stone and Company in their electrical department, and rose to the position of chief electrical engineer. In the application of electric lighting to railway passenger stock he introduced or developed a number of new features and improvements. Some of the earliest applications of air supply under pressure for railway carriage ventilation were made on his initiative, and it is noteworthy that recent applications of ventilating systems for railway carriages have been developing on somewhat similar lines. He was responsible for the application of electrical heating equipment with automatic temperature control to banana vans, the electrical method superseding the coke fires previously used in the vans. He introduced the method of effecting water supply services in railway carriages from underframe tanks by means of automatic electrically driven air-compressors; and developed improved types of distant control switches for carriage-lighting installations, including a type particularly applicable to Indian conditions. It was largely due to his initiative that the system of electric lighting and fans used on the ambulance trains in France during the War was adopted.

Mr. Darker's death occurred on 15th November 1931.

He had been an Associate Member of the Institution since 1900.


1932 Obituary[2]

"THE LATE MR. A. H. DARKER.

We regret to note the death on November 15 last, at Southport, Queensland, Australia, of Mr. Alfred Henry Darker, for many years chief electrical engineer to Messrs. J. Stone and Company, Limited, Deptford, London, S.E.14. The third son of the late Mr. R. T. Darker, chief mechanical engineer of the Queensland Government Railways, Mr. A. H. Darker was born in Australia in 1873, and educated at Ipswich Grammar School, Queensland. In 1888, he entered upon an apprenticeship of four years with Messrs. Phoenix Engineering Company, Ipswich, and continued his studies at the Technical Engineering College in that city. After completing his apprenticeship, he was engaged for some three years as engineer and draughtsman on the Queensland Government Railways, subsequently gaining some mining experience at the Aberedere Mines, Queensland, and also carrying out work in connection with the design of sugar mills. In 1896, he proceeded to England to take up an appointment in the locomotive department, and afterwards serving in the hydraulic department, of the Midland Railway, in London, meanwhile attending courses in mechanical and electrical engineering at East London and Finsbury Technical Colleges. Mr. Darker’s long association with Messrs.'J. Stone and Company began in 1897, when he was appointed electrical engineer, soon afterwards becoming assistant to the manager of the Electrical Department. He was eventually, appointed chief electrical engineer as has been already stated. Mr. Darker was instrumental in furthering and considerably widening the field of application of electric-lighting installations for railway carriages, of which Messrs. Stone are manufacturers. In their interests he visited important railway centres in practically all parts of the world, including many European countries, Canada, the United States, India, Australia, New Zealand and the South American Republics. In the applications of electricity to railway passenger stock, he introduced, or developed, a number of new features and improvements. Some of the earliest applications of air supply under pressure for railway-carriage ventilation were made on his initiative, and it is interesting to note that recent applications of ventilating systems for railway-carriages have been developing on somewhat similar lines. He was responsible for the application of electrical heating equipment, with automatic temperature control, to banana vans, this method superseding the coke fires previously used in the vans. He introduced the method of effecting water-supply services in railway carriages from underframe tanks, by means of automatic, electrically-driven air compressors. Mr. Darker also developed improved types of distant-control switches for carriage-lighting installations, including a type particularly applicable to Indian conditions. Furthermore, it was largely owing to his efforts that the electric lighting and fans, employed on the ambulance trains in France during the War, were adopted.

Mr. Darker, who passed away while on a business visit to Australia, became an associate member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1899 and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1900. He was also a member of the Association of Railway Electrical Engineers of America, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society."


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