Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Samuel Alfred Varley

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1866. Self-exciting dynamo by S. A. Varley.

(Samuel) Alfred Varley (1832–1921)

1832 Born the son of Cornelius Varley and brother of Cromwell Varley

1852 Followed his brother, C. F. Varley, into the Manchester workshops of Electric Telegraph Co.

1858-9 He supervised the first field telegraphs used in the Crimean War and published influential papers on cable signalling in 1858–9.

1860 Married Emily Andrews; seven children, of whom at least three survived him.

1861 He took over running a London telegraph factory owned by his father (Varley and Son?). Alfred and Cromwell fell out.

1866 Made the first self-excited dynamo (several others were invented at about the same time)

1873 S. A. Varley read a paper on "Railway Train Intercommunication" at the Society of Engineers; mentioned his system as fitted to LNWR Royal Train.

Invented compound winding but his patents on this and the dynamo lapsed before they became commercially valuable.

1883 He wrote-in to The Engineer immediately after his brother Cromwell's death with a letter regarding claims over his brother to invention. Read it on page 224 of The Engineer 1883/09/21.

1883 Residing at 2 Hamilton Road, Highbury.[1]

1885 Gold medal for designing the first self-exciting dynamo machine

Late 80s became known as a vocal critic of electrical engineers' increasing reliance on mathematical theory.

1921 Died at his house, Abbottsacre Lodge, Abbott's Road, Winchester on 4 August.

1922 Assoc.M.Inst.C.E., Electrical Engineer, Abbottsacre Lodge, Winchester; b. 1832; s. of Cornelius Varley; m. Emily Andrews. Ed. Southwark School. Manufacturer of Electrical and Telegraphic apparatus; Inventor Officer-in-Charge of Field Telegraphs during Crimean War, the first occasion when field telegraphy was employed; inventor, first self-exciting dynamo and first compound-wound dynamo lightning bridge; deviser of system of electric communication on railway trains.

1921 Obituary [2]

1921 Obituary [3]

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