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Charles Frodsham

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Charles Frodsham (1810-1871)

1810 Born the son of William James Frodsham


1872 Obituary [1]

Charles Frodsham was born on the 15th of April, 1810.

He was the third son of Mr. W. J. Frodsham, chronometer maker, who, while devoting himself to the higher branches of his own art, took an active part in the promotion of general science, and attained the honour of admission as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Mr. Charles Frodsham was brought up to his father’s business, having been apprenticed to the firm of Messrs. Parkinson and Frodsham; and after continuing the same pursuit on his own account for several years, became the successor of John R. Arnold.

In early manhood he showed a remarkable faculty for undertaking the more minute and intricate calculations involved in the construction and regulation of chronometers, which led him in later years to discover the true cause of the error in the compensation balance. This discovery proved to be of immense practical utility, as it substituted at once the precision of mathematical formulae for the doubtful technicalities and uncertain rules hitherto practised.

On the 7th of April, 1846, Mr. Frodsham was elected an Associate of The Institution of Civil Engineers, and in the following year, in conformity with the engagement entered into on admission, presented to the Institution a Paper 'On the Laws of the Isochronism of the Balance Spring, as connected with the higher order of Adjustments of Watches and Chronometers,' for which a Telford Medal was awarded to him.

On the occasion of the (London) International Exhibition of 1862, Mr. Frodsham was appointed a Juror in Class XV.; and being elected reporter, he made a report to the Jury on horological instruments, which was regarded as very clever and exhaustive. He was, in the same year, the author of a pamphlet, entitled, 'A Few Facts connected with the elements of Clock and Watch making,' he served twice as Master of the Clockmaker's’ Company, was appointed a Juror of the Dublin Exhibition in 1865, and both Juror and Vice-President of Class 23 at the Paris Exhibition in 1867. He also collected materials for and commenced an exhaustive treatise on his art.

Although excluded by his position, as a Juror, from competition on these occasions, he gained eleven medals, among which was the Grand Gold Medal of the Emperor of Russia. These various labours were achieved and these distinctions won in spite of ill-health and an extreme delicacy of constitution, from which he suffered through life. Mr. Frodsham was a member of the Council and Club of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In private life Mr. Frodsham was of a genial temperament, cheerful under bodily ailments, and well stored with general information. His death, which occurred on the 11th of January, 1871, caused deep regret to a large circle of relations and friends, by whom he was highly esteemed. In public life his name will be ever honourably associated throughout the civilised world as one of the best read and most practical of the many clever men who have been connected with the science of horology



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