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British Industrial History

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Jonathan Nash Hearder

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Jonathan Nash Hearder (1809–1876) electrical engineer

1809 December 24th. Born at Plymouth, Devon, the eldest son of Jonathan Hearder (1775–1838) and his wife Mary Hannah Parry.

1837 October 27th. Married Susan Plimsaul (c1775-1839)

1840 January 21st. Married his cousin Joanna Sleep Hearder (1809–1887) and they had five children.

He began a career as a schoolmaster, devoting his spare time to science, and he was the first in Plymouth to include science as a school subject. At sixteen he gave his first course of lectures at the Plymouth Mechanics' Institute, where he showed an electric telegraph he had invented. He became well known as a lecturer in the west of England.

c1832 At the age of twenty-three Hearder was blinded while experimenting with explosive compounds. His school closed and he turned briefly to music as a profession.

1838 His father died and he succeeded to the business of making umbrellas and fishing tackle, to which he added the manufacture of gas stoves and electrical engineering.

He had a long association with Sir William Snow Harris in his research into lightning conductors. He did important work in the development of the induction coil.

1841 Living at Buckwell Street, Plymouth: Jonathan Hearder (age c30), Shopkeeper. With his wife Joanna Hearder (age c30) and their son Jonathan Hearder (age c3 Months). Also one shop assistant.[1]

c1850 He was asked to advise on the Atlantic cable and proposed several improvements including the use of gutta percha as an insulator.

1851 Living at 34 George Street, Plymouth: Jonathan N. Hearder (age 41 born Plymouth), Smith: Manufacturer of Twine, Fishing Tackle; Philosophical Apparatus employing 10 men, 3 women and 1 apprentice. With his wife Joanna S. Hearder (age 41 born Cockington, Devon) and their children Jonathan G. Hearder (age 10 born Plymouth); Sarah T. Hearder (age 8 born Plymouth); Henry P. Hearder (age 6 born Plymouth); Kate B. Hearder (age 4 born Plymouth); and William S. Hearder (age 2 born Plymouth). Two servants.[2]

He was an active member of the Devonshire Association and the Royal Polytechnic Society and he gave no fewer than fifty-one lectures to the Plymouth Institution.

1871 Living at 195 Union Street, Plymouth: Jonathan N. Hearder (age 61 born Plymouth), Medical Galvanist. With his wife Joanna J. Hearder (age 61 born Cockington) and their children Kate M. Hearder (age 24 born Plymouth), Governess; William S. Hearder (age 22 born Plymouth), Fishing Tackle and Umbrella maker; and his daughter-in-law Annie C. Hearder (age 24 norn Budock, Cornwall). One servant. [3]

1876 July 16th. He died of a paralytic attack at 13 Princess Square, Plymouth, and was buried at Ford Park, Plymouth.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1841 Census
  2. 1851 Census
  3. 1871 Census