Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James Glaisher

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James Glaisher FRS (7 April 1809 - 7 February 1903), was an English meteorologist and aeronaut.

1809 Born in Rotherhithe, the son of a London watchmaker.

Glaisher was an assistant at the Royal Greenwich Observatories at Cambridge and Greenwich

He was Superintendent of the Department of Meteorology and Magnetism at Greenwich for thirty-four years.

In 1845, Glaisher published his dew point tables, for the measurement of humidity.

Glaisher was a founder member of the Meteorological Society (1850), and the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (1866).

He is most famous, however, as a pioneering balloonist. Between 1862 and 1866, usually with Henry Coxwell as his co-pilot, Glaisher made numerous ascents in order to measure the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere at its highest levels.

His ascent on September 5, 1862 broke the world record for altitude, but he passed out around 8,800 metres before a reading could be taken. Estimates suggest that he rose to more than 9,500 metres and as much as 10,900 metres above sea-level.

1870 A member of the Experimental Committee of the Aeronautical Society

Glaisher lived at 22 Dartmouth Hill, Blackheath, London, where there is a blue plaque in his memory.

He had ten children, including the mathematician James Whitbread Lee Glaisher (1848-1928).

1903 Obituary.[1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • The Engineer 1903 Jan-Jun: Index: Miscellaneous