Robert Percival Porter
Robert Percival Porter (1852-1917), journalist and editor of the Engineering Supplement of 'The Times'
1852 Born in Norwich
1860s Being in delicate health, he was sent to join his cousins in California, where they were engaged in fruit farming. But Porter developed an interest in journalism.
1872 Joined a newspaper in Chicago. He tackled all sorts of subjects and also became familiar with the technical processes of producing and printing newspapers.
By 1880s he had become recognised for his expertise in economics and tariff issues which attracted the attention of the President of the USA
1882 He was appointed US Tariff Commissioner
Started work in the Census Office in addition to his journalistic duties
1884-1887 He was on the editorial staff of the New York Tribune and the Philadelphia Press
1884 Married Alice Russell and became an American citizen.
Succeeded General Walker as Director of the Census.
1890-4 Organised the 11th census of the USA. He introduced the use of tabulating machines in which he became particularly interested.
1898 Appointed Special Commissioner in Cuba and Puerto Rico by his friend President McKinley but, after McKinley's assassination, his influence declines.
1902 Arranged with the Tabulating Machine Co to sell its machines in Britain
1904 Porter was induced to return to Britain to edit the Engineering Supplement of The Times.
1904 Porter was sole licensee for the Tabulating Machine Co of USA; he exhibited their tabulating machine in the Westinghouse Building in Norfolk St, Strand
1904 Founded the Tabulator Ltd to sell Hollerith's tabulating machines in Britian and Europe.
1906-09 Appointed special correspondent of The Times in Washington, USA; he undertook much travelling in his various roles.
Returned to live in Norfolk
1917 Died as a result of a driving accident
Sources of Information
- The Engineer 1904/05/20
- The Times, Mar 01, 1917