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Harry Melville Dowsett

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Harry Melville Dowsett was one of Guglielmo Marconi’s most significant engineers, having assisted him in the pioneering days of wireless as early as 1899.

1879: Born, London.

Educated at the Finsbury Technical College, where he trained as an electrical engineer.

1899: Joined the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Co. which later became Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Co., Ltd. His first assignment with the Company was at the Poole experimental station.[1] He assisted Marconi in much early development work, including the fit out of HMS Europa for the first practical sea trials of wireless for the Royal Navy.

He was in charge of the Marconi School for Wireless Engineering at Frinton some time before it moved to the New Works in Chelmsford in 1904.

1905: Married.

Dowsett performed a tour of duty on behalf of the Company to Australia and New Zealand, visiting Christchurch with Capt. L.E. Walker in January 1906.[2]

1908: Took charge of the test rooms and the drawing office at the Marconi Works on Hall Street, Chelmsford.

1912: Chief of the testing department at the Marconi Works.

By 1928, Dowsett had become Assistant Technical General Manager at the Company.[3]

November 1931: Appointed Research Manager for the Marconi Co., an appointment that resulted in the resignation of H.J Round[4]

During the 1930's, Dowsett filed a number of patents on behalf of his employer in the developing field of television.

August 1935: Stepped down as Research Manager, becoming Principal of the Marconi College.[5]

1939: Retired from Marconi's.

Notwithstanding his retired status, during the Second World War he undertook certain duties with the Air Ministry.

He was elected a full member of the I.E.E. in 1916. He was Fellow of the Institute of Physics (F.Inst.P.) and sometime Member of the Institute of Radio Engineers (M.I.R.E) in New York.

During his career and after, he authored a number of books: The Handbook of Technical Instruction for Wireless Telegraphists (8 editions between 1915 & 1950); Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony. First principles, present practice, and testing (1920); and Wireless telephony and broadcasting (2 vols, 1923/4). In addition, he wrote the unpublished: History of the Marconi Company, 1951, the typescript manuscript of which is now held in the Bodelian Library[6]. In addition, he contributed articles for journals such as The Wireless World and The Marconi Review.

Late in life, he published the eccentric The Structure of the Atom. A New Theory (1958), a topic he had corresponded with W.L. Bragg about as early as 1921.[7]

Died: 27th January 1964, aged 84

See Also

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Sources of Information

The Year Book of Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony, 1925

"Obituary. Electronics and Power 10(5), May 1964. p.172"

  1. Marconi, Degna. My Father, Marconi. p.52.
  2. "Evening Post, Volume LXXI, Issue 12, 15 January 1906"
  3. Baker, W.J. (1970) A History of the Marconi Company. p.198
  4. Baker, W.J. (1970) A History of the Marconi Company. p.270
  5. Baker, W.J. (1970) A History of the Marconi Company. p.273
  6. Raboy, Marc. (2016) Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World. p.818
  7. "National Archives. Letter:Lawrence Bragg to H.M. Dowsett"