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British Industrial History

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Leonard Satchwell

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Leonard Satchwell (1888–1963), electrical engineer.

1888 Born on 30 August in the village of Attleborough, just outside Nuneaton, Warwickshire, the third and youngest child of Walter Satchwell, a Baptist minister, and his wife, Rachel Hore, previously Herbert, née Baker, of Dover, Kent.

Educated and apprenticed probably in Scotland

Married his first wife, Christian (d. 1940).

1921 Satchwell, in partnership with a Mr Johns, founded the Rheostatic Company in Slough. The company manufactured variable resistors for varying the speed of trams and trolleybuses.

1927 the company introduced the world's first commercially available thermostat, for the control of electric heaters, and soon after a room thermostat.

Late 1920s moved to larger premises in Farnham Road, Slough.

1937 Rheostatic became a Public Company

1938/9 Satchwell was a director of the Harland Engineering Company.

From 1946 to 1949 Satchwell was a director of Janitor Boilers.

1947 Chairman of Weatherfoil Heating Systems.

1940 Following the death of Christian in London, Satchwell married Winifred Ada Doris Stevens (b. 1902/3).

1947 Divorced.

1953 the company sold its resistor business and concentrated on temperature control systems.

mid-1950s Satchwell married Marion, his third wife.

1963 Died in St Martin's, Guernsey, on 9 June

1963 the Rheostatic Company was renamed Satchwell Controls

1967 the company was acquired by Elliott Automation, which was itself absorbed by the English Electric Company and so became part of the General Electric Company (GEC), the largest electrical manufacturer in Britain.

1963 Obituary[1]

"WE regret to record the death, on June 9, of Mr. LEONARD SATCHWELL, founder of the Rheostatic Company Ltd. Mr. Satchwell, who was seventy-four, started his business in 1921 to develop unbreakable resistors, and in 1927 invented the magnetically controlled micro-gap witch, for which his name is best known. Under Mr. Satchwell's leadership the company grew, until in 1947, when he retired as chairman and managing director, it employed 1200 people. He remained a member of the board until 1954, when he finally retired from business. Because his name had become so closely identified with the temperature controls made by the Rheostatic Co the name of the firm, which is now a member of the Elliott-Automation Group, was changed to Satchwell Controls Ltd. at the beginning of 1963."

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1963 Jul-Dec