Famous British Electrical Engineers

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Believe it or not, we, human beings, have today become slaves of our own inventions. A day without the most basic of things could turn our world upside down. And for almost all the things, what we rely to most is electricity. Though Benjamin Franklin is credited for discovering electricity, it were the Brits who used this electricity to create a lot of things that have helped in the progress of mankind. One of the greatest British electrical inventions was the telephone. Ever since telephone came into being, it has changed the way people communicated panoramically. It is indeed the grandest, most magnificent and trailblazing discovery that mankind has witnessed. And we have none but a British, Alexander Graham Bell to thank it for. But this is not all. Way before Edison made his revolutionary discovery it was British Joseph Swan who patented the light bulb in 1880. Had it not been for Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield, radiology today wouldn’t have been as it is. Hounsfield was responsible for introducing the novel concept of medical imaging that was painless and more effective. He designed the CT scanner and the first whole body scanner. Who can forget John Logie Baird’s contribution in the field of electrical engineering? Touted as the Father of Television, he credited for inventing the first successful mechanical television. And he too was a British. Check this segment to know about the life and works of famous British electrical engineers.
Vote for Your Favourite British Electrical Engineers
 1 
John Logie Baird
9
Birthdate: August 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Helensburgh
Died: June 14, 1946

Scottish inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator, John Logie Baird, is best known for demonstrating a working TV system in 1926. He then went on to invent the first viable purely electronic color TV picture tube and founded the Baird Television Development Company. He was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.

 2 
Godfrey Hounsfield
(Developer of X-ray computed tomography)
Godfrey Hounsfield
3
Birthdate: August 28, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newark-on-Trent, England
Died: August 12, 2004

Nobel Prize-winning British electrical engineer Godfrey Hounsfield is best known for developing the CAT and CT scan techniques along with Allan Cormack. He also led the team that developed Britain’s first all-transistor computer. He was knighted for his achievements, while the measure of radiodensity was named the Hounsfield scale.

 3 
John Ambrose Fleming
(British Electrical Engineer and Physicist Who Invented the First 'Thermionic Valve' or 'Vacuum Tube')
John Ambrose Fleming
5
Birthdate: November 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, Lancashire, England
Died: April 18, 1945

John Ambrose Fleming was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube and designing the radio transmitter with which the first transatlantic radio transmission was made. Along with  Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth, he helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Fleming was also a noted photographer and artist. 

 

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 4 
Elihu Thomson
(Engineer, Inventor)
Elihu Thomson
2
Birthdate: March 29, 1853
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manchester
Died: March 13, 1937

Elihu Thomson was an English-born American inventor and engineer. He is credited with founding major electrical companies in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1882, Elihu Thomson founded the Thomson-Houston Electric Company which was renamed General Electric Company in 1892 after merging with the Edison General Electric Company. Thomson is also credited with inventing an arc-lighting system.

 5 
Robert Watson-Watt
(British Pioneer of Radio Direction Finding and Radar Technology)
Robert Watson-Watt
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brechin, Scotland
Died: December 5, 1973

Robert Watson-Watt, often called the father of radar was a British physicist who did pioneering work in radio direction finding (RDF) and radar technology. He developed high-frequency direction finding (huff-duff) as a system for locating lightning. It was later introduced during the Second World War and played an instrumental role in intelligence, mainly in catching enemy radios while they transmitted.

 6 
Carl Wilhelm Siemens
(German-British Electrical Engineer and Businessman)
Carl Wilhelm Siemens
2
Birthdate: April 4, 1823
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gehrden, Germany
Died: November 19, 1883

German-British inventor and electrical engineer, who revolutionized the steel-making and glass-making industries, is best remembered for using the Siemens-Martin process to create the regenerative furnace. His achievements earned him accolades such as the Albert Medal. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society and was knighted shortly before his death.

 7 
Hertha Ayrton
(British Engineer, Mathematician, Physicist and Inventor Known for Her Work With the 'Electric Arcs')
Hertha Ayrton
2
Birthdate: April 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Died: August 26, 1923

Hertha Ayrton was a British engineer,  physicist, mathematician, and inventor. She is remembered for her work on electric arcs and ripple marks in sand and water, for which she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. As a woman in the 19th century, she had to face innumerable struggles in her career. She was also a passionate suffragist. 

 8 
Alan Blumlein
(Engineer, Audio engineer)
Alan Blumlein
2
Birthdate: June 29, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Died: June 7, 1942

Best known as the inventor of stereo sound, electronic engineer Alan Blumlein had 128 patents in his kitty. He died at age 38, when the Halifax bomber carrying him and his colleagues crashed during World War II. He was apparently part of a secret radar experiment back then.

 9 
Mo Ibrahim
(Entrepreneur)
Mo Ibrahim
5
Birthdate: May 3, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sudan

Telecom magnate Mo Ibrahim was born in Sudan and educated in Egypt and the U.K. His company Celtel International was one of the pioneers in the mobile phone industry in Africa and the Middle East. He was featured on Forbes’s billionaire’s list and offers scholarships for African students through his foundation.

 10 
H. J. Round
(British Engineer and One of the Early Pioneers of 'Radio' and 'Light-Emitting Diode')
H. J. Round
2
Birthdate: June 2, 1881
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England
Died: August 17, 1966

Often referred to as an unknown genius, Henry Joseph Round began his career at Marconi’s Company, serving as an assistant to Guglielmo Marconi, contributing greatly to the development of radio technology. Later, his observation of electroluminescence from solid state diode led to the discovery of the light-emitting diode. Awarded the Military Cross, he also contributed greatly to England’s World War I's efforts.

 11 
John Hopkinson
(British Physicist and Electrical Engineer Who Invented the Three-Wire System for Electricity Distribution)
John Hopkinson
1
Birthdate: July 27, 1849
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: August 27, 1898

The son of a mechanical engineer, John Hopkinson followed in his father’s footsteps. Remembered for his research on alternating current, the British engineer and physicist developed the three-wire system for distributing electricity. He died in a mountaineering accident in the Alps, along with three of his six children.

 12 
Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
(British Electrical Engineer and Inventor)
Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
2
Birthdate: April 9, 1864
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: January 13, 1930

Electrical engineer and inventor Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti was the son of a photographer father and a pianist mother. He had invented an arc light by 13 and an alternator at 18. He contributed to the development of the alternating current (AC) system in Britain and also promoted electrical generating plants.

 13 
R. E. B. Crompton
(British Inventor and Pioneer in Electrical Development)
R. E. B. Crompton
2
Birthdate: May 31, 1845
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sion Hill, Thirsk, Yorkshire, England
Died: February 15, 1940

Crompton & Co. founder Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton was a skilled electrical engineer. After his military career in India, Crompton focused on inventions and developed arc lamps and other electrical equipment. It is believed his Porchester Gardens residence was the first private house to be completely lit by electricity.

 14 
Francis Thomas Bacon
1
Birthdate: December 21, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Billericay, England
Died: May 24, 1992

Educated at Eton and Cambridge, Francis Thomas Bacon gained an interest in fuel cells while working at C.A. Parsons. He later invented the world’s first hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell, which converted air and fuel into electricity in a pollution-free manner. His cells were later used in the Apollo moon mission.

 15 
Fleeming Jenkin
(Scottish Engineer and Inventor of the 'Cable Car' or 'Telpherage')
Fleeming Jenkin
1
Birthdate: March 25, 1833
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dungeness, England
Died: June 12, 1885

After a 10-year stint as an engineer working to construct and install submarine telegraph cables, Fleeming Jenkin published reports establishing the ohm as the unit of electrical resistance. He is also remembered as the inventor of the cable car and taught at institutes such as the University of Edinburgh.

Frederic Calland Williams
1
Birthdate: June 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stockport, England
Died: August 11, 1977

British electrical engineer Frederic Calland Williams is known for his pathbreaking inventions such as the digital computer Manchester Baby and the cathode-ray-tube memory system known as the Williams tube. He also contributed to radar technology. He won a Faraday Medal and was made a Fellow of The Royal Society.

 17 
William Henry Preece
1
Birthdate: February 15, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Caernarfon, England
Died: November 6, 1913

Welsh inventor William Henry Preece spent his entire life working at the British Post Office, where he experimented on the post office telegraph system. He helped Guglielmo Marconi gain financial assistance and also developed the wireless telegraphy and the telephone system of Britain. He was knighted for his achievements.

 18 
William Eccles
(British Physicist and a Pioneer in the Development of Radio Communication)
William Eccles
1
Birthdate: August 23, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Barrow-in-Furness, England
Died: April 29, 1966

Known for his pioneering contribution to radio technology, British physicist William Eccles had begun his career as an assistant to renowned scientist Guglielmo Marconi. He supported Oliver Heaviside's theory of there being an upper layer of the atmosphere that reflects radio waves. His works include Handbook of Wireless Telegraphy.

 19 
Charles Tilston Bright
(Electrical engineer)
Charles Tilston Bright
1
Birthdate: June 8, 1832
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wanstead, London, England
Died: May 3, 1888

Charles Tilston Bright began his career as a clerk at the Electric Telegraph Company. Later, as an engineer for the Magnetic Telegraph Company, he oversaw the laying of underground telegraph lines in the U.K., which motivated him to give shape to the world’s first transatlantic telegraph cable.

 20 
Henry Christopher Mance
(Electrical engineer)
Henry Christopher Mance
0
Birthdate: September 6, 1840
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 21, 1926

Best remembered as the inventor of the heliograph, which used sunlight and mirrors to send coded flashes, British engineer Henry Christopher Mance received a knighthood for his feats. As part of the Persian Gulf Telegraph Department, he oversaw the laying of the first submarine telegraph cables in the Persian Gulf.

 21 
Richard Grimsdale
(Electrical engineer)
Richard Grimsdale
0
Birthdate: September 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Australia
Died: December 6, 2005

Born to a British engineer father in Australia, Richard Grimsdale later moved to England, where he studied electrical engineering. He is best remembered for inventing the Metrovick 950, the world’s first transistorized computer. His research also included the Atlas computer and the Manchester computers.

 22 
Arthur Fleming
(Engineer)
Arthur Fleming
0
Birthdate: January 16, 1881
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newport, England
Died: September 14, 1960

English engineer Arthur Fleming is remembered for his work on radar technology. He was awarded the honor of CBE for his development in submarine-detection technology during World War I. He launched the second daily British radio transmitting station and was also knighted for his feats.