Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,697 pages of information and 235,204 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Alfred King

From Graces Guide

Alfred King (1797-1867)

1840 Alfred King of Liverpool, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1870 Obituary [2]

MR. ALFRED KING, the youngest son of Mr. Joseph King, the compiler of the well-known "Tables of Interest," was born in Liverpool on the 24th of December, 1797.

From an early age he showed great interest in mechanical pursuits, and gave clear indications of his fitness for the profession which he afterwards adopted.

Having received his education at a private school in Liverpool, he remained in that town until the year 1824, when he removed to London, and was engaged at the engineering works of Messrs. Taylor and Martineau, until 1826. During this period he superintended the erection of gas apparatus in various parts of the kingdom, and had to contend with many of the difficulties attending the first introduction of gas.

In 1826 he was appointed Engineer to the Liverpool Gas Company, on the death of his brother John, the previous Engineer to the Company, and this position he retained until his own death, which took place, after a lingering illness, on the 27th of April, 1867.

For nearly forty-one years, therefore, he had occupied that responsible position, and those who were associated with him during that long period can alone fully understand his devotion to his work, as well as the self-sacrificing spirit he ever showed to further the interests of the company, with which he was so long and so honourably connected, and to promote the cause of science to the utmost of his ability. Mr. King was remarkable for the thoroughness and accuracy of his work, entering into every detail, and never sparing time or trouble to render everything he undertook as perfect as possible. He won the entire confidence of those by whom he was professionally consulted, and while his courteous manners and sterling integrity made him deservedly esteemed by those who were only slightly acquainted with him, he is remembered by those who knew him well as a warm-hearted and affectionate friend.

Mr. King will always be identified with the history of gas lighting. He was perhaps the first to pay attention to the adoption of a regular systematic plan in the construction of gasworks, and the establishments designed by him are models of convenient arrangement and order. He was the inventor of the delicate pressure-gauge, which bears his name, for indicating small amounts of pressure, and of the photometer, now almost universally employed for ascertaining the illuminating power of gas.

The use of bored and turned joints for pipes was successfully employed by him when a large amount of prejudice existed against that system, and by the application of gas for cooking, which he suggested, an additional source of revenue was opened t,o gas companies. Although his attention was chie0y occupied with the special branch of the profession with which he was more immediately connected, he nevertheless was deeply interested in all branches of engineering.

During the construction of the Liverpool and Manchester railway, and as the friend of the late George Stephenson, Joseph Locke, and others, his advice was often sought ; and among other inventions connected with this undertaking may be mentioned a system of telegraphic communication, by means of compressed air, between the Edge Hill and the Lime Street stations, Liverpool.

Among his last inventions was a self-registering barometer, now used at the Liverpool Observatory; an instrument which was only brought to its present‘perfection after much thought, and a long series of preliminary experiments.

Mr. King’s connection with the Institution of Civil Engineers dates from the 25th of February, 1840, when he was elected an Associate 'on account of his scientific acquirements, and his connection with engineering pursuits, having the direction of the gas-works at Liverpool.' On the 5th of May following he was transferred to the class of Members, when his qualifications were more precisely set forth as follows : 'Because he is engaged as a practical Engineer, is the Engineer of the Liverpool Gas-works, and has made many beautiful experiments on subjects connected with railways - the evaporation of water, consumption of fuel, &C.'

Mr. King’s scientific attainments and his practical knowledge were so sound and so varied, that he would have shone in any branch of the profession, and it is to be regretted that he did not extend the sphere of his action.

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