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British Industrial History

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Robert William Eddison

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Robert William Eddison (1835-1900) of John Fowler and Co

1835 September 28th. Born at Leeds the son of Edwin Eddison. His brother, Walter Eddison, started a steam ploughing business.

1860 Partner in John Fowler and Co

1861 Living at Headingley Hill, Leeds (age 25 born Leeds), Farmer. Living with father Edwin, (a solicitor, notary and farmer) and mother Hannah and siblings [1]

1871 Living at Adel Mill (age 35 born Leeds), Steam Plough Manufacturer. Master of firm John Fowler Co, Leeds employing 950 hands. With wife Annie P. (age 27 born Philadelphia) and children Edwin (age 6) and Isabella (age 11 months). Also one servant. [2]

1881 Living at The Willows, Adel (age 45 born Leeds), Engineer employing 1100 men and owner and occupier of 150 acres employing 5 labourers. With wife Annie J. (age 36 born Philadelphia, USA) and son Harold J. (age 5). Four servants. [3]

1891 Living at The Manor, Adel cum Eccup (age 55 born Leeds), Engineer. Manufacturing Mechanic. With wife Annie T. (age 45 born Philadelphia, USA) and children Edwin (age 26 born Leeds), Engineer, Electrical and Mechanical, and Harold T. (age 15), Scholar. Three servants. [4]

1900 May 21st. Died

1900 Obituary. Age 64. Leaves a widow and two sons. He was the eldest son of Edwin Eddison of Payne, Eddison and Ford, Solicitors. Forty years ago he joined in partnership with John Fowler to develop the steam plough. Was with the late Hawthorn Kitson on the Committee of Employers' Association during the recent great strike. Owner of considerable property around Adel. [5]

1900 Obituary [6]

1900 Obituary [7]

ROBERT WILLIAM EDDISON was born in Leeds on 28th September 1835, and was the eldest son of Mr. Edwin Eddison, the first Town Clerk of Leeds.

He was educated at Hitchin and Queenswood College, Stockbridge, Hampshire, and was afterwards articled to his father with the intention of becoming a solicitor.

Sedentary office work, however, proved hurtful to his health, and in 1856 he spent a year travelling through the United States and Canada.

On his return to Leeds in 1857, the great interest he took in agriculture brought him into close touch with his friend Mr. John Fowler, the inventor of the steam plough and founder of the firm of John Fowler and Co., which was then engaged in the development of this invention. He became associated with Mr. Fowler during the building of the Steam Plough Works, and again visited the United States in the interests of the business in 1860 and 1861. He saw a good deal of the Civil War, and was present at the battle of Bull Run.

On the formation of the firm of John Fowler and Co., he was taken into partnership, and played a prominent part chiefly in connection with the commercial department, representing the firm at the principal shows of the Royal Agricultural Society.

He was on the executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, and was chairman of the Agricultural Engineers' Association in 1898-1899. He was also one of the founders of the National Traction Engine Owners' and Users' Association, chairman of the Iron Trade Employers' Insurance Association, a member of the committee of the Iron Trade Employers' Association and of the Engineering Employers' Federation, and other societies.

His connection with agriculture was extended to his private life, as he farmed his own estate at Adel.

He took a leading part in the passing of the various Acts of Parliament since 1861 for regulating the use of traction engines on highways. His great attention to business prevented his taking any prominent part in public affairs, and led him to decline magisterial honours, but when the Adel Parish Council was established, and he was elected its first chairman, he consented to serve.

His death took place at his residence at Adel, near Leeds, from acute pneumonia, after four days' illness, on 21st May 1900, in his sixty-fifth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1868.

1900 Obituary [8]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1861 Census
  2. 1871 Census
  3. 1881 Census
  4. 1891 Census
  5. The Leeds Mercury , Tuesday, May 22, 1900
  6. The Engineer 1900/05/25
  7. 1900 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  8. Engineering 1900 Jan-Jun: Index: General Index