Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Edward Mallett

From Graces Guide

Edward Mallett (1888-1950)


1951 Obituary.[1]

Edward Mallett, D.Sc.(Eng.), who died on the 10th December, 1950, was born on the 6th May, 1888. He received his early education at Southend High School and his engineering education at University College, London. During his second year, 1907, he was awarded The Institution's David Hughes Scholarship. He served an apprenticeship with Crompton and Co., Chelmsford, and entered the Post Office Engineering Department through a Civil Service competition in 1909. Following a short period of training, he was posted to the Scotland West Section of the Scotland District and remained there up to the outbreak of war in 1914. He was interested in the Territorial Army, and as a result, as soon as war was declared, was posted to the 52nd Lowland Divisional Signals and saw service in the Middle East area of hostilities, finally leaving the Service with the rank of Captain. After the war he was posted to the Transmission Section of the Engineer-in-Chief's Office, and here his grasp of electrical fundamentals, combined with his abounding energy, found outlet in dealing with the problems of telephone transmission, then entering into a new phase due to the introduction of the thermionic valve. During this period of service in the Post Office he carried out his researches into the vibrational modes of a circular diaphragm which led to the work for which he was eventually granted his doctorate. There is no doubt that had he remained in the Post Office he would have had a brilliant future, but a friendship made during the war years turned his energies in another direction and he left the service in 1920.

In September, 1921, he joined the academic staff of the City and Guilds College, South Kensington, as Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, which post he held until September, 1932. During these eleven years he was developing and expanding the "light current" engineering section of the department. A considerable expansion was taking place under the direction of Professor Fortescue, and Mallett, with his active and fertile mind backed by his considerable experience in the Post Office, found scope for developing the instruction and research in electrical communication. He had an intuitive engineering sense and considerable academic skill, which combined to produce a lecturer of inimitable style and a research worker capable of producing results from the minimum of apparatus. He was extremely popular with both staff and students and joined in many of their social activities. The title of Reader was conferred on him in 1927 by the University of London, and from that date until his death he remained a member of the Board of Studies in Electrical Engineering. He was for several years Secretary to the Board, acquiring an intimate knowledge of the activities of the Board and of the University. This served them well over the period of his long membership. In addition to these activities he still found time to write several papers on a variety of subjects of interest to the communication engineer, which he presented to The Institution and to the Physical Society.

In July, 1926, he had been awarded the Degree of D.Sc.(Eng.) as an internal student, the title of his thesis being "Forced Oscillations, Electrical and Mechanical." He was frequently consulted by outside bodies and by the University on electrical engineering matters. In 1929 he produced his textbook on Telegraphy and Telephony which became and still is a valuable foundation for students of electrical communication.

It was at the height of his academic activities that he left the City and Guilds College to become Principal of Woolwich Polytechnic, but although he became more and more immersed in administrative duties he never lost contact with the College or the University. He was intensely interested in the university aspect of the Polytechnic, but at the same time took a very active interest in the large non-university side of Polytechnic activities. He was a keen believer in the National Certificate course for the part-time and evening students, and had a place in his heart for the craftsman, ensuring that he was provided with proper shops and tools. It was during his Principalship that the sandwich course in engineering was started, and this eventually developed into the engineering degree course of to-day. This was soon followed by degree courses for B.Sc. (chemistry, physics, mathematics), and the full-time School of Art course. The Polytechnic Union came into being during his time. He saw that the incorporation of the diversified clubs and societies of the Polytechnic into one complete whole could be of great value to the students and members, and the passing of time has proved him correct. The success of the Union in all its aspects is a tribute to him: he gave it a free, unfettered hand and held it in high esteem. Extensions to the Polytechnic were made during his time, and future developments were being planned by him when his fatal illness intervened.

He joined The Institution as an Associate Member in 1920 and was elected a Member in 1923. He was Faraday Lecturer 1935-36, taking as his subject "Television—an Outline," and was Chairman of the Wireless Section the following session. During the period 1923-33 he presented nine papers to The Institution, two in collaboration with Prof. J. T. MacGregor-Morris, and three in collaboration, respectively, with A. D. Blumlein, G. F. Dutton and R. C. G. Williams. For two of the papers he was awarded a Wireless Section Premium.

He was also a Member of The Institution of Civil Engineers, and a Fellow of The Institute of Physics and of University College, London.


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