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British Industrial History

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Eric Philip Barfield

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Eric Philip Barfield (1876 - 1939), of Wild-Barfield Electric Furnaces.

1939 Obituary [1]

MR. Eric P. Barfield, whose death occurred on August 7th, was one of the founders of Wild-Badfield Electric Furnaces, Ltd., managing director of the company since its incorporation in 1917, and chairman since last September, and was a director of its associated company, G.W.B. Electric Furnaces, Ltd.

Mr. Barfield had always been associated with, and was a pioneer in the electrical industry. Commencing with the Edison and Swan Company, he joined the National Telephone Company, and was responsible for the installation of some of the first lead-covered paper-insulated telephone cables in the country, and at a very early age was manager of one of the largest South Coast telephone exchange of that day.

He then joined the head office staff of the General Electric Company Ltd., and was subsequently intimately connected with the development of the Robertson lamp. Subsequently he went to Siemens Brothers to develop the manufacture and sale of the Tantalum lamp, the first metallic filament lamp to be introduced to the British market. Some years later, in conjunction with Mr. L. W. Wild, whom he had known for many years, he founded Automatic and Electric Furnaces, Ltd., and so formed the first company in this country to make industrial electric heat-treatment furnaces. Beginning with the manufacture of relatively small and specialised furnaces for the precision hardening of tool and gauges, the company gradually developed the larger furnaces, basing designs on the experience gained, until at the present day the company and its associated, G.W.B. Electric Furnaces, Ltd., construct resistance furnaces of all types. Mr. Barfield was actively associated with the company almost until his death, which occurred after a short illness of less than five weeks.

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