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British Industrial History

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Arthur Brooker

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Arthur Brooker (c1864-1917), Works Manager of the Peel Works of the General Electric Co, of British Insulated and Helsby Cables and the Automatic Telephone Manufacturing Co


1917 Obituary [1]

ARTHUR BROOKER died in Huyton, Lancashire, on the 24th March, 1917, at the age of 53 years.

Joining the Telegraph Department of the Post Office Service in 1878, at the very commencement of his career he gave strong indications of a distinct personality which was destined to bring him prominently before his fellows. He became a Student of the Telegraphists' School of Science, which in 1876 was established at the Central Telegraph Office, securing many successes in physics and mathematics and in several technical subjects.

In 1889 he became an instructor in the school in mathematics and laboratory practice, and the following year he was made chief instructor. He was also on the staff of the People's Palace and the Currie School of Engineering as instructor in Electrical Engineering. His scientific attainments procured for him rapid promotion in the Post Office service, and he was largely responsible for the development of the present highly specialised testing branch, where the enormous supplies of apparatus and material are tested and proved on scientific bases which are generally acknowledged by manufacturers as affording the best and fairest standards, and have been adopted by very many foreign and colonial administrations.

It was, however, his association in the production of Slingo and Brooker's "Electrical Engineering," in 1890, which brought his name more prominently before the public. The sale of this work was phenomenal, but perhaps the class who took to it most enthusiastically were the marine engineers. Every vessel as it was equipped with the electric light was also provided with its "Slingo and Brooker." After the publication of the book the authors entered into journalism and contributed largely to the pages of the Electrical Review, one of the most important contributions being a series of articles on "Storms and Telegrams," which appeared in 1891, and which were translated and reproduced in the "Journal Telegraphique of Berne."

In 1898 Mr. Brooker severed his connection with the Post Office and became works manager of the Peel Works of the General Electric Co., Ltd., where he spent seven years in organising the factory and devoting himself to the wholesale manufacture of telegraph and telephone apparatus, of which he was able to bring down the cost very materially and thereby extend the operations of the firm.

In 1906 he joined the British Insulated & Helsby Cables, being engaged in developing the accessories side, both at home and abroad, and on the formation of the Automatic Telephone Manufacturing Co. in 1912 he became its general manager, a position he retained until shortly before his death as the result of a nervous breakdown.

Since the commencement of the war he had devoted the energies of his company to meeting the requirements of the Munitions Department, and on retiring from the management took up an important position under the Ministry.

Mr. Brooker was elected a Member of the Liverpool Engineering Society on the 17th November, 1915, and was a frequent contributor to the discussions on the papers submitted. So recently as January last he contributed a very valuable Paper on "Screw Thread Measurement," which will be found in this Volume. Unfortunately, however, his illness prevented him from delivering the paper in person.



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Sources of Information

  1. 1917 Liverpool Engineering Society: Obituaries