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British Industrial History

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Charles Faraday Proctor

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Charles Faraday Proctor (1861-1940), a great-nephew of Michael Faraday


1940 Obituary [1]

BY the death of Charles Faraday Proctor, which took place on Saturday, May 4th, at his home, 77, St. Mary's Grove, Chiswick, at the age of 79, the British electric lamp industry has lost one of its early workers, who did much to develop the industry.

Charles Proctor was born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and received his education at private and public schools and institutions in that city.

He served an apprenticeship of four years in the various departments of the works of Henry Watson and Sons, and then spent a further year in the laboratories of the late Sir Joseph Swan.

In 1881 he was sent to Paris to assist in the setting up of the first factory in France to be specially designed for the production of incandescent electric lamps, and was appointed assistant manager for the Swan Company.

Four years later he went to Lille as assistant manager of the Swan Factory, and he returned to Paris in 1888 to design and equip the large new lamp works of the Swan Company in Paris. The following year he was awarded the Medal of the Paris International Exhibition for Lamp Making.

In 1891 he devised and patented a method of constructing incandescent electric lamps in which the filament is first mounted on a ftanged tube of glass, thereby enabling it to be sealed into the bulb by machinery, instead of being assembled by band.

Mr. Proctor was appointed the manager of the Edison and Swan Company's Works at Ponder's End in 1893, and in the years which followed he took out many patents for improved lamp fittings, including the present design of bayonet lamp holder.

He went to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1900, to take up the position of engineer and assistant manager of the Edison and Swan Lamp Works at Benwell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

About 1914 Mr. Proctor left the service of the Edison and Swan Company, and joined the General Electric Company, serving in Cardiff as the central station engineer on the G.E.C. staff.

In 1916 he was transferred to the Osram Robertson Lamp Works of the General Electric Company, at Hammersmith. He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Electrical Engineers and for some years was the Chairman of the North-Eastern Centre of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.


1940 Obituary [2]

CHARLES FARADAY PROCTOR, whose death occurred at Chiswick on 4th May 1940, was one of the last remaining pioneers of the development of the electric incandescent lamp. A great-nephew of Michael Faraday, he was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1861. After serving his apprenticeship with Messrs. Henry Watson and Sons, at High Bridge Works, Newcastle, he entered the private laboratory of Sir Joseph Swan. There he assisted in developing the carbon filament lamp.

In 1881 he went to Paris to assist in the fitting up of the first incandescent electric lamp factory in France, of which he was appointed assistant manager. After returning to England for a period of two years, during which he designed improved machinery for the Swan works in the north of England, he went to Lille in 1884 as assistant manager to refit the Swan Company's factory there. He was afterwards appointed manager. In 1888, when the Edison and Swan Continental companies were amalgamated and became known as La Compagnie General des Lampes Incandescents, a new factory at Ivry-sur-Seine was erected, of which Mr. Proctor was made technical manager. In recognition of his work in the development of electric lamps during this period he was awarded a bronze medal at the Paris International Exhibition in 1889. In 1893 he returned to England as assistant manager of the Ponders End works of the Edison and Swan Company, shortly afterwards becoming manager of their electrical fittings department.

In 1900 he was transferred to the firm's Benwell works as assistant manager, where he remained until 1914. After joining the General Electric Company as central station engineer at Cardiff in 1914 he was transferred, in 1916, to the Osram Robertson Lamp Works, and later, in 1925, to the firm's research laboratories at Wembley. There he remained until his retirement in 1931, after completing 50 years in close connection with the lamp industry. During his active career he introduced many improvements into the manufacture of the electric incandescent lamp. These include an improved form of vacuum pump enabling the lamps to be more readily exhausted, the present method of constructing incandescent lamps in which the filament is mounted on a flanged tube of glass which is afterwards sealed into the bulb, and the present design of bayonet lamp holder.

Mr. Proctor was elected a Member of the Institution in 1895. He was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.


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