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British Industrial History

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Edward Highton

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Edward Highton (1817-1859)

1860 Obituary [1]

MR. EDWARD HIGHTON was born on the 13th of August, 1817, at Leicester, at which town he received a classical and mathematical education, first at the grammar school, and afterwards from a private tutor, the Reverend John Foster, of St. Mary’s.

He then became the pupil of Mr. Stephen Robinson, (M. Inst. C.E.,) of Durham, the Engineer to the Hartlepool Dock and Railway Company.

After completing his professional education, and on the contractors failing to perform the excavations required, he was intrusted with the management of the works, and as Assistant Engineer, he superintended, during upwards of three years, the construction of the docks on behalf of the Company.

In 1845, he was appointed Resident Engineer of the Taff Vale Dock and Railway; and in 1846, he became Telegraphic Engineer to the London and North Western Railway Company, having, in conjunction with his Brother, devoted himself to the especial study of electric telegraphy, and contributing the whole of the mechanical details and many of the principles of the several patents taken out by them.

He read several Papers before the Society of Arts,l and he took part in the discussions upon telegraphic subjects at the Meetings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, which he had joined as an Associate, in 1847.

In 1849, he received the large gold medal of the Society of Arts, for his inventions in electric telegraphy, for which he also, subsequently, received another medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Several of his inventions are still in use by the British and Irish Magnetic Telegraph Company, who are the owners of the patents.

He was, latterly, compelled to retire from the active duties of his profession, on account of his declining health, which had been much injured by his professional labours and anxieties. He died on the 13th of November, 1859, at the age of forty-two years, greatly beloved by his relatives, to many of whom he had almost acted the part of a father, and towards whom he had always shown the most kind and generous disposition.

He was the author of some poetry of considerable merit, which, however, was only printed for private distribution. He contributed the work on the electric telegraph, published in Weale's Series.

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