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British Industrial History

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Thomas Buckney

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Thomas Buckney (1838-1900) of E. Dent and Co

1838 Born in Camberwell, son of Thomas Buckney, timber merchant, and Mary Elizabeth Buckney, nee Rippon[1] (Mary was a daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Rippon).

1841 Thomas Buckney 40, timber merchant, lived in Camberwell with Mary Buckney 28, Thomas Buckney 2, Elizabeth Buckney 4 Months[2]

1871 Manager of Dent and Co, unmarried, living at 61 Strand, London[3]

1874 Married Catherine Harvey in Cosford, Suffolk[4]

1881 in Little Thurlow, manufacturer Of Horological and Nautical Instruments, Master, Employed 45 men, with Catherine Buckney 26, Catherine Mary Buckney 5, Thomas William Buckney 1, Maud Buckney[5]

1900 Died in Maidenhead[6]


1900 Obituary [7]

THOMAS BUCKNEY was born at Bankside, London, on 1st December 1838.

He acquired the whole of his practical knowledge during his connection with Messrs. E. Dent and Co., clock and watch makers of London, with whose business he had been connected nearly all his life.

He was appointed superintendent of the manufacturing department in 1864, which post he held until 1872 when he became a partner. A few months later, on the death of his father, he became senior acting partner, and senior partner in 1881. He was able to make any piece of work that fell within the limits of his business, extending from watches to the largest turret-clocks.

He designed the standard sidereal clock of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and made with his own hands the more delicate parts of the escapement. He also made the chronographs for the observatories at Brussels and Tokyo; and arranged the clocks used for observing the transit of Venus in 1872.

His firm were the makers of Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster. He was the designer of electric contacts for marine chronometers; and one of his latest and best works was the great clock recently erected at Gloucester Cathedral.

In 1880 he read a Paper to the Royal Astronomical Society, of which he was a Fellow, on a proposed new uniform-pressure clock. He was a Member of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, and of the British Association Committee appointed for the adoption of a standard system of screw-threads for electrical and other apparatus.

His death took place at his residence in London after a short illness on 1st February 1900, at the age of sixty-one.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1886.


1900 Obituary [8]



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