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British Industrial History

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Henry Alabaster

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Henry Alabaster (1846-1930) of the Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review.

1930 Obituary[1]


We regret to record the death of Mr. Henry Alabaster, chairman and managing director of the Electrical Review, Limited, which occurred on Monday, January 13, at the age of 86.

It is now fifty-six years since Mr. Alabaster became proprietor of what was then known as the Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review. It had been founded two years earlier as the The Telegraphic Journal and Monthly Illustrated Review of Electrical Science, first appearing as a monthly, and then, shortly before Mr. Alabaster’s connection with it, as a fortnightly. A few years later, he entered into partnership with the late Mr. T. E. Gatehouse and Mr. H. R. Kempe, the former becoming editor in 1881, when the title of the paper was changed to that which it at present hears. It became a weekly a year later. In 1919, the business was converted into a limited company, of which Mr. Alabaster was the first chairman and managing director, a position he still held at the time of his death. During this long period, electrical science and industry have changed and developed out of all recognition, and there can he no doubt that Mr. Alabaster played a leading part in keeping our contemporary in touch with those changes. In the early days there was less appreciation by the public of what electricity can and cannot do, and the Electrical Review therefore performed a useful public service in exposing the claims, among others, of a Dr. Tibbits and the Medical Battery Company, Limited, to cure certain human ills by the use of electric belts. The result was a series of libel actions, all of which were won by the Paper. This, however, was not the only occasion on which our contemporary was instrumental in defeating attempts at frauds or in dispelling false theories.

Among the more important of Mr. Alabaster’s other activities may be recounted the steps which he took to assist in forming the Electrical Contractors’ Association, while he also showed considerable interest in the social side of the profession. He was one of the founders of the Electro-Harmonic Society, and was also an early member of the Dynawicables. He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1887, and for some years acted as joint auditor to that body.

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