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British Industrial History

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Frederick Charles Tilley

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Frederick Charles Tilley (1864-1939), mechanical and lighting engineer.

1864 Born in Shoreditch[1], son of William Henry Tilley and his wife Emma[2]

Educated at Finsbury Technical College

1881 Living at 62 Albion Road, Stoke Newington: William H. Tilley (age 46 born Shoreditch), Gas Fitter. With his wife Emma J. Tilley (age 46 born Benhall, Suffolk) and their eight children; William H. Tilley (age 18 born Shoreditch), Gas Fitter; Henry J. Tilley (age 17 born Shoreditch), Clerk; Fredrick C. Tilley (age 16 born Shoreditch); Laura J. Tilley (age 14 born Shoreditch); Esther M. Tilley (age 13 born Shoreditch); Edith J. Tilley (age 7 born Stoke Newington); John E. Tilley (age 6 born Stoke Newington); and Maud A. Tilley (age 3 born Stoke Newington). Two servants. [3]

1881-4 Apprenticed to his father

c.1885 began managing the business, W. H. Tilley

1889 Married

1895 After his father's death, went into partnership with his brothers to run the company of W. H. Tilley (which later became Tilley Brothers)

1902 Gas engineer, of the firm of W. H. Tilley, gained a patent concerned with gas street lighting, the first of several dozen that he achieved.

By 1909 the business had become Tilley Brothers according to the patent to Frederick Tilley concerning atmospheric gas burners[4]

1909 Patent with Tom William Brown for improvements in air or gas compressors

c.1911 Began studying the use of coal gas at high pressure; developed equipment; set up the Tilley High-Pressure Gas Syndicate

1911 Heating and lighting contractor, employer, living in Hornsey, with Fanny Best Tilley 44, Mabel Fanny Tilley 18, Margery Tilley 11, Basil Tilley 6, baby Tilley 0[5]

1916 Also was a director Peebles and Co of Edinburgh, makers of gas governors and recording gauges.

1916 Chairman of the Lighting and Fittings Section of Illuminating Engineering Society

1939 Died in Bournemouth[6]


1940 Obituary [7]

FREDERICK CHARLES TILLEY, who was connected with Messrs. Tilley Brothers, Ltd., for over fifty years, was managing director of this firm when he died on 19th April 1939.

He was born in London in 1864 and he received his technical education at the Finsbury Technical College. He served his apprenticeship from 1881 to 1884 in the shops of his father's works at Shoreditch, and he then joined the staff in a managerial capacity. On his father's death in 1895 he went into partnership with his brothers and devoted his attention to the mechanical side of the business.

He made a study of the uses of coal gas at high pressure, and he held several patents for the design and construction of gas lamps and compressors. He rearranged the company's works and in 1916 he reorganized the business for the production of munitions. After the Great War the works were transferred to Hendon and the manufacture of the Tilley paraffin pressure vapour lamp began. Mr. Tilley was also a director of Messrs. Peebles and Company, Ltd.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1916, and at one time he was chairman of the Society of British Gas Industries.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 1881 census
  3. 1881 Census
  4. Patent
  5. 1911 census
  6. National Probate calendar
  7. 1940 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  • Mechanical Engineer Records