Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 162,539 pages of information and 244,522 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Edward Tyer

From Graces Guide

Edward Tyler (1830-1912), inventor of the Tablet system of block railway signalling, of Tyer and Co

A nephew of Sir John Musgrove, Lord Mayor of London

1852 Patented a device for device for electrical communication between a railway locomotive and a station[1]

1859 Appointed electrical engineer to the new London District Telegraph Co

He was the first to erect a telegraph line in Greenwich Park to connect to the Observatory

1875 Dissolution of the Partnership between Edward Tyer, John Musgrove Norman, and Thomas Meadows Clarke, carrying on business as Telegraph Engineers and Contractors, and Telegraph Instrument Makers, at No. 4, Old-street, St. Luke's, in the county of Middlesex, and will henceforth be carried on by the above-named Edward Tyer and John Musgrove Norman.[2]

1878 After the Thorpe railway accident, he patented a system of electrical control for single lines, later called the "Tablet".[3]

1879 After the end of the partnership with John Musgrove Norman, he continued the business as Tyer and Co

1897 Gradually retired from active work

1910 Gained his final patent

1912 Died


1913 Obituary [4]

EDWARD TYER was born at Kennington on 6th February, 1830, and was educated first at the City of London School, and then at a private school near Chiswick after the death of his father. In his school-days he showed great interest in the subject of electricity, and constructed electrical apparatus out of such materials as were available, his skill in this direction attracting the notice of his master.

For a short time he was in the city office of his uncle (afterwards Sir John Musgrove), but he soon returned to electrical engineering and devoted his attention to telegraphic apparatus.

In 1859 he was appointed electrical engineer to the London District Telegraph Company. Up to that time no intercommunication had been provided between the various trunk-line termini in London, or even between the different metropolitan districts. He installed the underground mains and overhead wires which later became merged in the Postal Telegraph Service of London.

His name was better known, however, in connection with the application of electricity to railway signalling, particularly as regards power signalling. In 1878 he worked out a system for electrical control on single-line railways. At one time he was associated with the Railway Electric Signals Company, and later he worked with his own company, Messrs. Tyer & Co.

He also took great interest in astronomy, and had a well-equipped observatory.

Of late years he gradually retired from active work, and he died on 25th December, 1912.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1883.


1914 Obituary [5]

E D W A R D T Y E R , who will be remembered for the many important contributions which he made to the development of railway signalling and telegraphic science, died at Tunbridge Wells on the 25th December, 1912, in his 83rd year. Born in Kennington on the 6th February, 1830, he was educated first at the City of London School and afterwards privately. After spending a short period in his uncle's City office, he decided to turn his attention definitely to the development of electrical appliances, work for which he had already shown considerable aptitude. As early as 1852 he took out a patent for an electrical signalling device operating on the engine, and this proved the first of a long series of inventions which have done much to bring railway-signalling systems to their present pitch of efficiency. Among his more important inventions were the ingenious instruments comprised in his method of block-signalling, and especially the Tablet system, which, introduced in England in 1878, has now spread all over the world. Mr. Tyer was also a pioneer in telegraphic communication, being the originator of the enterprise which developed into the postal telegraph service of London. He was the founder of the firm of Tyer and Company, Limited, and undertook a great deal of work both in this country and abroad. He took a keen interest in scientific progress, and was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical,Geographical, and Microscopical Societies, and a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. Mr. Tyer was elected, on the 5th Mach, 1861, an Associate of The Institution, with which he had thus been connected upwards of 50 years


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times 28 Dec 1912
  2. London Gazette 8 May 1877
  3. The Times 28 Dec 1912
  4. 1913 Institution of Electrical Engineers: Obituaries
  5. 1914 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries