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British Industrial History

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Ernest Edward Sharp

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Ernest Edward Sharp (1879 - 1954), A.M.I.E.E., Electrical Engineer. Director of Venner Time Switches, Jackson Electric Stove Co, Tok Switches, and London Dye Manufacturing Co.

1954 Obituary.[1]

Ernest Edward Sharp, who died at his home in Cape Town on the 13th December, 1954, was born on the 1st January, 1879. In 1892 he joined the London office of Mather and Platt, transferring in 1896 to the Chloride Electrical Storage Co. Meanwhile he was studying engineering at the Chelsea Polytechnic. He was appointed in 1900 to Venner and Co., where he was responsible for meters and time-switches. In 1911 he persuaded Mr. R. F. S. Venner and Mr. R. C. Graseby to join him in establishing the firm of Venner Time Switches, and from the beginning the three men formed its directorate. For some years during and after the First World War he was, in addition to his connection with Venner Time Switches, a director of the Jackson Electric Stove Co. and of Tok Switches Ltd. He retired from the position of Managing Director of Venner Time Switches in 1940, although he did not sever his connection with the Board till three years later. Mr. Sharp was then living in Somerset, but later he sought the sun of South Africa for the benefit of his health.

During the 1914-18 War, he at first served as a volunteer in Lloyd George's organization for munition supply, and from 1916 onwards he served in the army in Great Britain and France with the rank of Captain.

Mr. Sharp was a regular subscriber to The Institution's Benevolent Fund and gave generously to the Homes Fund on its establishment. He was also a generous contributor to, and the hardest of workers for, the Electrical Industries Benevolent Association, of which he was a Past-President. His forethought was very largely responsible for developing the scope of the Association in the inter-war years, and his enthusiasm was an inspiration to others to help in this extension.

In masonic circles Mr. Sharp was widely known; he was a Past Grand Standard Bearer of England and held other high masonic degrees.

In the Second World War he was a volunteer Traders' Salvage Officer in Taunton, and gave service in other activities that ranged from National Savings to A.R.P., it being typical of the man that he would turn his hand to any job which had to be done, however humble.

His hobbies were making friends, reading and travelling, and he indulged them all richly. He was erudite and had a deep well of interesting and useful knowledge and anecdotes on which to draw; albeit he was no pedant and had a delightful way of explaining things in a simple and ever entertaining manner. Though he always seemed composed, he was a very active man and never left until to-morrow what could be done to-day. He was objective in all things, his mind was analytical, and he had a rare understanding of people; he could always see the other man's point of view. Thus he was able to set his course at the outset with greater sureness than many people and yet, if further information came his way later, he never hesitated to review his decisions. He had a keen sense of humour and was very welcome to any gathering of electrical engineers.

He joined The Institution as an Associate Member in 1909 and was elected a Member in 1933. He was a Member of Council from 1929 to 1932. Admitted to the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1926, he became Master of the Company in 1940-41. He was a Fellow of the British Horological Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Empire Society.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. IEEE Obituary notices.