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British Industrial History

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Adolph Tobler

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Adolph Tobler (1850-1923)

1923 Obituary [1]

ADOLPH TOBLER was born in Zurich, Switzerland, on the 22nd July, 1850, and died in the same town on the 3rd July, 1923.

His contributions to-science were many and varied and as a writer of scientific articles he was very successful. As early as 1876 he was teaching in the University of- Zurich as a private tutor.

In 1889 he was made Honorary Professor and in 1905 lectured on " weak-current " engineering at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule, Zurich.

In addition to the development of electric safety devices for railways, he also devoted much attention to telegraphy, telephony, cables and cable-testing, electric clocks and measuring instruments, his work "being appreciated not only in Switzerland, but also in England and Germany.

As a philanthropist he was also very well known, and the central library in Zurich owes its existence to his generosity. He was always willing to give a helping hand to the deserving. He provided many of the instruments in the Physics Department of the Zurich University, and at his home was to be found the most carefully equipped laboratory for measuring purposes.

In spite of his financial position, he never attempted to obtain a controlling financial interest in the industry, as his sole ambition was the development of scientific research. His military career should also be mentioned. He started as a private in the field artillery and later joined the fortress troops on the St. Gothard. Here he advanced rapidly to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel and, as his experiences in cable work proved to be very useful, was given charge of the cable-laying in the construction of. the St. Gothard fortress.

On the outbreak of war in 1914, Professor Tobler, then 64 years of age, offered his services to the St. Gothard troops, and the country very gladly accepted them. Those who knew him will appreciate the loss which Switzerland, and especially Zurich, has suffered through his death.

He was elected a Foreign Member of the Institution in 1877, and a Member in 1911.

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