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British Industrial History

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James Edward Henry Gordon

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James Edward Henry Gordon (1852-1893) of J. E. H. Gordon and Co

1852 Born the son of James Alexander Gordon (1793-1872), Physician

c.1887 Formed the Whitehall Electric Supply Company

1893 Obituary [1]

WE regret to have to announce the death of Mr. J. E. H. Gordon, of Queen's Gate-gardens, London, who was killed by a fall from his horse on Friday last. He was only 41 years of age, and yet was known throughout the scientific world through his original work, his active theoretical and practical pursuit of electrical subjects, and through his books. Throughout his life, electricity, both in its scientific and practical developments, was to him an absorbing passion. In his early days he contributed papers on electrical subjects to the "Philosophical Transactions," and was engaged in connection with the University extension scheme in lecturing on electricity and other branches of physical science.

In 1878, the year of Mr. Spottiswoode's presidency, he became assistant secretary of the British Association.

In 1880 he brought out "A Physical Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism," an important work, now in its third edition, which has commanded considerable attention in this country, and also in France and America.

Later on he engaged in the more active work of an electrical engineer, into which he threw himself with all the energy of an enthusiastic nature, and be designed and carried out several important electric lighting stations.

About eleven years ago, Mr. Gordon surprised the world by the design and construction of the large dynamos for supplying 6000 Swan lamps. One of these machines, as made by the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company, Greenwich, was illustrated in our pages in October, 1882, and several similar machines were erected at the Paddington Station of the Great Western Railway, for supplying that station.

From that date, Gordon became actively interested in electric lighting projects, and it is to be feared that his numerous engagements and his literary labours originated a feverishly active life, although this did not cause his death, but with a too active life, an escape from usual occupation is likely to take the form of violently active excitement, too often of a dangerous character.

Gordon was a capital horseman, having been used to riding all his life. At the inquest on his death, it was stated that the deceased went to Mr. Barnes' stables, Thornton Heath, on Friday morning, and asked Mr. Barnes to let him have a dangerous horse, but he had not one. At first he walked the horse, then trotted, then cantered, and finally galloped it at a very fast pace round the paddock. He was sitting at ease in the saddle when the horse ran away with him. A police-constable, who was on duty in London-road, said that the horse came towards him at the rate of twenty miles an hour. In attempting to turn too sharply, the animal threw its rider, and both fell on the asphalt pavement. Witness placed the deceased in a van, and conveyed him to the hospital, where he died an hour after his admission. The horse got up and ran away, and was afterwards found in a gravel pit. Death was due to an extensive fracture of the skull. Gordon was an able man, and will be mourned by many. He leaves a wife and three children.

1893 Obituary [2]

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