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Frederick William Hartley

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Frederick William Hartley (1829-1885)


1887 Obituary [1]

FREDERICE WILLIAM HARTLEY was born in Westminster in 1829.

Though self-educated, he was a remarkably well-informed man, and a fluent speaker. His talents and commercial aptitude were of such a nature that, had he entered into business on his own account (and opportunities were not lacking), it is most probable that he would have realized a considerable fortune.

But he was a man who placed duty before every other consideration ; and having accepted the position of manager of the gas-appliance business of Alexander Wright and Co., of Millbank Street, Westminster, he remained unswervingly faithful to the trust reposed in him. This trust, together with the care of the widow and children, was confided to him by the late Alexander Wright, his first employer, on his deathbed.

From the year 1859 till the close of his life, Mr. Hartley devoted all his energies and talents to the discharge of the duty he had undertaken, and it is only just to say that, if it had been his own business, he could not have done more. It is not therefore surprising that everyone connected with the large and wide-spread industry of gas held him in high esteem; and his varied knowledge, always at the service of those who asked information from him, together with his great ability and amiable disposition, made lasting friends of those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. His honourable and upright conduct in the transaction of business was as much appreciated by his rivals as by his friends.

He died literally in harness, on the 17th of October, 1885, suddenly, but painlessly, from disease of the heart. His funeral at Brompton Cemetery was attended by a large number of professional friends.

Mr. Hartley was many years ago elected by acclamation an Honorary Member of the Gas Institute; and this, the highest testimony of his worth, accorded to him by those who knew his work, was highly valued by him. His work was so varied that it is difficult within reasonable limits to describe it. He wrote frequently on scientific subjects connected with gas, and published, amongst other works, a most useful text-book on Gas-Measurement and the testing of Gas-meters. In this department of business he was a great authority, and he was able to afford valuable assistance to the Standards Department of the Board of Trade.

He also published a useful work on the Analysis of Gas. At the Inventions Exhibition of London, in 1885, he exhibited a complete and interesting collection of the scientific apparatus which he had either invented or improved. Amongst others, was an improvement on Thompson’s calorimeter for demonstrating the heating power of coal ; and a new form of Photometer, which he had designed to combine the uses of several distinct instruments, used in ascertaining the photometrical value of different means of producing artificial light.

In the year 1883 he was engaged, in cooperation with Mr. Charles Heisch, in carrying out an important series of experiments for the Gas Institute on the question of Standards of Light; and he also made an exhaustive series of tests of gas-burners and stoves for the Committee of the Crystal Palace Gas and Electric Exhibition in 1882.

Mr. Hartley was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 1st of April, 1873.



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Sources of Information

  1. 1887 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries