Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

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.

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.

Merritt Scott Conner

From Graces Guide

Merritt Scott Corner was born in Paw Paw, Michigan, USA, about 1874[1]. He worked for a time for Bell Canada.

1906 he received a Canadian patent for an improved telephone signalling system, details of which are now unavailable.

Around 1909 Merritt Scott Conner moved to Britain and joined the Peel Works, Salford, where he improved the quality of the telephones[2].

1910 On 24th December GEC incorporated the Peel Works as a separate company, employing 1,000 workers. The Electrical Review noted that the company had been formed to adopt an agreement between GEC and Conner to take over the Peel Works' telephone manufacturing. Conner was nominated to the Board of the new company which produced telephones exclusively.

1910 Director of Peel-Conner Telephone Works; other members of the board were directors of GEC.

Among his British patents (many in conjunction with other engineers at the Works) were:

1909 An interlocking system for banks of switches that reset all switches once another key was pressed

1909 A call counter for telephone exchanges

1910 An improved design for the bell receiver, incorporating better magnetic field location and better rigidity of construction

1910 Further construction improvements to the receiver

1910 A method to quickly coat wire with paint or other preservative

1912 An automatically-resetting indicator for annunciators

1910 and 1912 A way to feed local power to an extension phone while it is connected to an exchange line, reducing the volume drop (this system allowed a bell to ring when the extension phone was hung up, so the switchboard operator could clear the line and extension; another signal was sent to the public exchange to allow the operator there to clear the exchange end of the call).

1913 An improved two-piece switchhook that reduced the problem of sticking of single-piece switchhooks

1913 A rotary switch using ball bearings in the switch for the moving contacts (this proved more reliable and less prone to wear than fixed metal wiper-style contacts).

1917 Further improvements to the magnet construction and layout in the telephone receiver

1917 An improvement to the Solid Back transmitter to prevent distortion of the diaphragm during assembly.

Many of these inventions became standard items of equipment in the telephone industry.

Conner was also responsible for improvements in the production processes used in the factory.

1930 Merritt Scott Conner eventually returned to the United States, where the 1930 U.S. Census recorded him as living in New York State.

Sources of Information

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