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British Industrial History

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Frederick Edwards

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Frederick Edwards (1848-1918)

of 62 Bishopsgate Street Within, London, E.C.

1848 Born in Lambeth the son of Henry Edwards, a Solicitor, and his wife Suzette.

1897 Formation of Edwards Air Pump Syndicate to commercialise his air pump design

1918 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK EDWARDS was born in London on 3rd August 1848, and was educated at Bedford and Enfield.

He served an apprenticeship from 1864 to 1867 with Messrs. Clinton and Owens, hydraulic engineers, Whitefriars, London, during which time he worked in the drawing office, pattern, and fitting shops.

He then served a further apprenticeship of two years at the works of Mr. John Stewart, Isle of Dogs, where he was engaged in the erecting shops and on steamers, and in the drawing office.

After acting for a year as chief engineer on board ship, he started to practice in 1871 as a consulting engineer, and continued to do so until his death.

Amongst the work carried out by him may be mentioned the design of slipway and steamers for H. H. Rajah Brooke, of Sarawak, a small fleet of mail steamers for the French Government, and steamers for the Weymouth and Channel Islands Steam Packet Co., and for Messrs. Gellatly, Hankey and Co.

Mr. Edwards took a keen interest in the work of this Institution's Research Committee on Marine-Engine Trials from 1887 onwards, and in addition to being an active Member of the Committee, he placed two steamers at their disposal for testing purposes.

He also designed steamers for Messrs. Wilson and Co., owners of the Gothenburg Line, Messrs. Modesto Pineiro and Co., Santander, and hospital steamers for the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. Of late years he specialized in oil and gas engines and producers, and designed producer-gas plant, including seven Oechelhauser gas-engines, for the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (1900), Ltd.

He rendered special services to the British Government in connexion with the midnight photographs taken of the hospital steamer "Alpha" which was injured by the Russian fleet in the Dogger Bank incident. His photographs were used privately at the Paris Commission.

He displayed great engineering ability, attaining his ends by very simple means, of which his air-pump affords an example, and subsequently kept in touch with the Institution by discussing its development.

His death took place after a long illness, at his residence at Bushey Heath, Watford, on 27th November 1918, at the age of seventy.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1877; he was also a Member of the Institutions of Civil Engineers and Naval Architects.

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