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British Industrial History

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William Brookes

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William Brookes (1817-1884)

Patent agent.

Born in London in September 1817.

On leaving Architect, John Moore, he worked for Poole and Carpmael, where he learned the business of a Patent Agent.

c1844 Birth of son William Colborne Brookes

1884 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM BROOKES was born in London on the 22nd of September, 1817. Originally destined for the architectural profession, he was placed in the office of the late Mr. John Moore, Architect and Surveyor, of Lincoln's Inn Fields, but an early predilection for scientific and mechanical pursuits, inherited from his father, led to his obtaining employment more congenial to his tastes in the office of the late Mr. William Carpmael, M.Inst.C.E., where he remained until the year 1852.

He then commenced independent practice, as a patent-agent and consulting engineer, which he carried on in Chancery Lane for thirty-two years. He obtained repute in his profession, and was well known as a scientific expert giving evidence in patent-trials. He was largely consulted on questions connected with inventions, and was remarkably quick in apprehending the salient features of those submitted to him, and his accuracy of judgment in arbitrating between conflicting interests in patents was generally admitted. He had a very extensive knowledge of the weaving, lace, and knitting industries.

He was a man of energy and ability and possessed of mechanical ingenuity. His leisure was chiefly devoted to astronomy, the microscope and like studies. The subject of patent-law reform received considerable attention at his hands, his efforts in this direction being prompted by a strong conviction that a liberal patent-law was absolutely necessary to the free development of the industrial resources of the country.

He was one of the original promoters of the Institute of Patent Agents, of which he was a Fellow and Member of Council. Mr. Brookes was at the time of his death one of the oldest and most respected members of his profession. He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 1st of May 1866.

His death took place at Green Lanes, Hornsey, on the 14th of February, 1884.

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