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David Salomons

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1895.
1896. Sir David Salomons' Peugeot Vehicle. (Printed back to front).
1903.
1904.
1906 Q4.
1909.

David Lionel Goldsmid Stern Salomons (1851-1925) Early pioneer for the car on British roads.

1851 Sir David Lionel Salomons, Bart., was born in Brighton. He was educated for a short period at University College, London, and afterwards at Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated with natural science honours in 1874.

He was a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, where he took leading part for many years on the Council, and served in the positions of honorary treasurer and vice-president. He was a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, of the Physical Society of London, and of the Royal Microscopical Society, and an associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

1873 Succeeded to the title of his uncle, Sir David Salomons, by special remainder (dated 1869) and inherited the Broomhill estate near Tunbridge Wells[1]

c.1874 Sir David was one of the first in England to adopt the electric light. This was about the year 1874, when he found it necessary to make the lamps, switches and other apparatus himself, as those were unobtainable at the time.

About 1874-5, he constructed a small electrical road carriage, which was in use a short time only, owing to the trouble of re-charging batteries, as no accumulators existed at that period.

Devoting himself largely to scientific investigation he was the author of various works on scientific subjects, such as photographic optical formula photography and electrical subjects, his chief work being his three-volume "Electric Light Installations". Also "Photographic Notes and Formulae". He was also the author of many papers read before scientific societies, including the Royal Society and Royal Institution.

He was an original member of the Automobile Club of France and of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) of Great Britain, being a member of the committee of the former and member of committee and a vice-president of the latter, and is also an ordinary or honorary member of most of the Continental automobile clubs.

He was Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, 1894-5, and High Sheriff of Kent in 1881, and is a Magistrate for Kent, Sussex, Middlesex, Westminster and London.

In October 1895 Sir David Salomons and Frederick Simms organised the first British Motor Show, the 1895 Horseless Carriage Exhibition in Tunbridge Wells.[2]

1900 Became an associate of the Inst Mech Engineers[3]

1904 SALOMONS, Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern, Bart., M.A., J.P., D.L., Broomhill, near Tunbridge Wells; 49, Grosvenor Street, London, W. Cars: 8-h.p. de Dion-Bouton, 9-h.p. Renault, 12-h.p. de Dion-Bouton, 14-h.p. Renault, Darracq, 24-h.p. Richard-Brazier, 80-h.p. Panhard. Total distance travelled since becoming a motorist: Over 20,000 miles. Hobbies: Driving (four-in-hand), mechanics, engineering, science. Principal aim in furthering automobilism: To be equal with other nations who have more liberty in this respect, to improve the motor trade, and thereby improve the condition of the labour market, and to generally increase the resources of England. Was the convener of the great Self-propelled Traffic Association meeting at the Cannon Street Hotel, in November, 1895, the outcome of which was the abolishment of the four-miles-an-hour limit, and of the walking signalman with the red flag. Is a director of the South-Eastern Railway. Clubs: Athenieum, Carlton, City of London, City of London Liberal, Savage, Royal Societies', Camera, Automobile Club de France, Automobile Beige, Automobile Suisse, Automobile de Nice, A.C.G.B. & I. [4]

1920 Retired from I Mech E.

1925 Died at Marylebone[5]


1903 Bio Note [6]

SALOMONS, SIR DAVID, BART.- Born June 28th, 1851, Sir David Salomons was educated at Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A., with Natural Science Honours in 1874, being subsequently called to the bar, taking his M.A. in 1877. He is late Vice-president and Treasurer of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, an Associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and many others. He has held a great number of public offices, and has devoted himself to science, electricity having claimed his particular attention. He is a great lover of horses, owning large stables at his seat near Tunbridge Wells. Sir David Salomons has been a member of the Club since August let, 1898, and as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has rendered invaluable services in all negotiations with the national clubs of foreign countries. His well-known munificence is worthily demonstrated by the many historical pictures adorning the walls of the Club bearing inscriptions as being presented by him.


1925 Obituary [7]

SIR DAVID LIONEL GOLDSMID STERN SALOMONS, BART., M.A., died on the 19th April, 1925, at the age of 73.

He was the only son of Philip Salomons of Brighton, and grandson of Sir Jacob Montefiore of Sydney, New South Wales.

From University College, London, he went up to Cambridge and took a 2nd class in the Natural Science Tripos in 1873. In the same year he succeeded to the baronetcy of his uncle, Sir David Salomons, the Liberal Jew who made a long fight for admission to the House of Commons, and was the first of his faith to sit there. He was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1874. He was a magistrate and Deputy-Lieutenant of Kent, and was High Sheriff in 1881.

In 1882 he married a daughter of the late Baron Hermann de Stern, a sister of the first Lord Michelham.

Sir David was one of the oldest members of the Institution, having joined the Society of Telegraph Engineers in 1875, only four years after its formation. It was on his proposal that the Institution was formed from the old Society. He was a member of the Council and Honorary Treasurer for many years, and became a Vice-President. There is little doubt that if he had been a practising electrical engineer instead of a distinguished amateur he would have occupied the Presidential chair. He generously perpetuated his interest in and connection with the Institution by endowing the scholarship which is named after him.

He took great interest in practical electrical applications all his life, and established a laboratory and workshop at Broomhill, his seat near Tunbridge Wells, where he did a great deal of experimental work. He claimed to be the first person in this country to light his house by incandescent electric lamps - that was in 1874, when all the accessories were home-made.

His book on "Electric Light Installations and the Management of Accumulators," based on his own practical experience, was one of the first on the subject. It passed through many editions.

He was a director and the first chairman of the City of London Electric Lighting Co., Ltd. His interests were many and varied. He was a director of the South-Eastern Railway, and on its amalgamation with the other two lines he became a director of the Southern Railway.

He was one of the pioneers of the motor-car. It is related that when he performed the opening ceremony of the electricity station at Tunbridge Wells - about 30 years ago - he arrived from Broomhill with Lady Salomons in a motor-car, which by law was not allowed to travel on a public road at more than a walking pace and was preceded by a flagman. At a very early period he made and used home-made electric carriages. He organized the first motor-car exhibition - at Tunbridge Wells - and took a prominent part in the larger exhibition held shortly afterwards at the Crystal Palace.

At a meeting convened by him the Self-propelled Traffic Association was formed. As its first president he initiated and carried to success the movement to induce the Government of the day to pass a measure removing the restrictions on such traffic.

He was one of the founders and an honorary member of the Automobile Club de France, and a founder and honorary president of the Aero Club de France.

He was greatly interested in early time-pieces, of which he had an important collection, including many examples of the work of Breguet. He wrote a life of Breguet which was republished in a French edition for the centenary of that famous French watchmaker. His continued interest in electrical matters as well as his kindliness is shown by his having till the last remained president of the Electrical Trades Benevolent Institution.

He leaves a widow and three daughters. His only son, Capt. David Salomons, was drowned on service in the Hythe disaster in 1915.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Biography of David Salomons, ODNB
  2. Vital to the Life of the Nation. Published 1946
  3. Mechanical Engineer Records
  4. Motoring Annual and Motorist’s Year Book 1904
  5. National Probate Calendar
  6. 1903/02/26 Automobile Club Journal
  7. 1925 Institution of Electrical Engineers: Obituaries
  • [1] Your Motor car Web Site
  • Motoring Annual and Motorist’s Year Book 1903