Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Henry William Clothier

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Henry William Clothier (1872 - 1938).

1938 Obituary [1]

It is with great regret that we announce the death of Mr. H. W. Clothier, following an operation in Auckland, New Zealand, where he happened to be in the course of an extensive private and business tour in that part of the world. Mr. Clothier's main work was done in his long association with A. Reyrolle and Co., Ltd., of which company he was a director at the time of his death. As was announced almost a year ago, he retired from some of his executive activities in April, 1937, but he continued to act in an advisory capacity on the work he had previously controlled. This change freed him for the tour on which he was engaged, and those who said good-bye to him in October little thought that it was for the last time.

Mr. Clothier was born in London, "within the sound of Bow Bells," as he often used to say, on April 3rd, 1872, and after an apprenticeship and some subsequent work with J. and H. Gwynnes, Hammersmith, he was for about ten years, first with the late Dr. S. Z. de Ferranti and Mr. C. P. Sparks in London, and later at Hollinwood in charge of many matters connected with the design of Ferranti switchgear and transformers. In 1905 he came to Tyneside to begin an investigation of protective gear for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution systems at the suggestion of Mr. C. H. Merz and Mr. Bernard Price. While thus engaged his attention was directed to the improvement of high-voltage switchgear, and he then produced the original designs of the metal-clad draw-out type.

In 1906 he joined the staff of A. Reyrolle and Co., Ltd., to supervise and direct the developments with which his name will always be linked. His unceasing advocacy of the need for continuity in the supply of electricity and for safety of human life in its use has borne large fruit, and the world knows and has benefited by his work. His close connection with the activities of other companies—Holmes, Parolle Electrical Plant, and Pyrotenax—is well known, and his various Institution papers form a record of some of the things that he was always saying and working for, and that are now the guiding principles of those to whom he had handed over many of his responsibilites.

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