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Francis Harman Lewis

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Francis Harman Lewis (1863-1945)


1946 Obituary [1]

FRANCIS HARMAN LEWIS was born on the 18th June, 1863, and died on the 6th December, 1945. He received his engineering education at the Finsbury Technical College, and his practical training with the Electrical Power Storage Co. After spending a year with the Westminster Electric Supply Corporation and nine months with the St. James and Pall Mall Electric Light Co. as an assistant engineer, in 1891 he was appointed Borough Electrical Engineer at Hull, when he designed and erected the first power station for the Corporation, the total capacity being 400 kW. Two years later he obtained a similar appointment at Wolverhampton. He had been one of the first to recognize the advantage of high-voltage distribution with substations, and he had the courage to recommend a modification of the Oxford system using 2 000-volt direct current. In the substations the voltage was reduced to 200 volts on the outers of a 3-wire system by means of motor-generators; the substations were unattended. He left Wolverhampton in 1898, although still retained as a consultant. The following year he was appointed Electrical Engineer to the Urban District Council of Leyton. The power station contained, at first, a Dowson gas plant; later steam was added. "Subsequently he saw the advantage of taking a bulk supply from his larger neighbours. He retired in 1928, and eventually settled in Wilmslow with his son. He was a good photographer, and was keenly interested in astronomy. To the end of his life he followed every new development of electrical engineering, and was proud to have played a part as a pioneer.

He joined The Institution as an Associate in 1891 and was elected a Member in 1921.


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