Famous British Electrical Engineers

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.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird
Famous As: Engineer
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 John Ambrose Fleming

John Ambrose Fleming
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, 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. 


 3 Godfrey Hounsfield

Godfrey Hounsfield
Famous As: Developer of X-ray computed tomography
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.

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 4 Charles K. Kao

Charles K. Kao
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: November 4, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: September 23, 2018

Nobel Prize-winning Chinese physicist Charles K. Kao is best remembered for his discovery of how light is transmitted through fibre-optic cables. Named the Godfather of Broadband, he was also knighted by the U.K. Following his diagnosis of Alzheimer disease, he co-founded the Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease.

 5 Carl Wilhelm Siemens

Carl Wilhelm Siemens
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
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.

 6 Alan Blumlein

Alan Blumlein
Famous As: Engineer, Audio engineer
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.

 7 Elihu Thomson

Elihu Thomson
Famous As: Engineer, Inventor
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.

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 8 Hertha Ayrton

Hertha Ayrton
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: April 28, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Portsea Island, 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. 

 9 Mo Ibrahim

Mo Ibrahim
Famous As: Entrepreneur
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 John Hopkinson

John Hopkinson
Famous As: Physicist
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.

 11 H. J. Round

H. J. Round
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 2, 1881
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingswinford, 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.

 12 Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti

Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
Famous As: Electrical engineer
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 Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton

Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: May 31, 1845
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Thirsk, 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

Francis Thomas Bacon
Famous As: Engineer
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 Frederic Calland Williams

Frederic Calland Williams
Famous As: Engineer
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.

 16 William Henry Preece

William Henry Preece
Famous As: Engineer
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.

 17 Joseph Clement

Joseph Clement
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 13, 1779
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Asby, England
Died: February 28, 1844

Born to a weaver, Joseph Clement himself initially worked as a weaver and learned metal work. He began building power looms and then moved to London, where he worked with top engineering firms. His best achievement was his collaboration with Charles Babbage in building Babbage’s Difference Engine.

 18 William Eccles

William Eccles
Famous As: Physicist
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 Edward Davy

Edward Davy
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: June 16, 1806
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ottery St. Mary, England
Died: January 26, 1885

English physician and scientist Edward Davy is best known for his inventions such as his version of an electrochemical telegraph. He sold off the patent of his telegraph and moved to Australia later. He also developed the electromagnetic repeater. The Experimental Guide to Chemistry remains his most notable work.

 20 Charles Tilston Bright

Charles Tilston Bright
Famous As: Electrical engineer
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.

 21 Henry Christopher Mance

Henry Christopher Mance
Famous As: Electrical engineer
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.

 22 Richard Grimsdale

Richard Grimsdale
Famous As: Electrical engineer
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.

 23 Arthur Fleming

Arthur Fleming
Famous As: Engineer
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.