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British Industrial History

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Henry Albert Fleuss

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Henry Albert Fleuss (1855-1933) of Siebe, Gorman and Co, inventor of the Miners' Rescue Apparatus and Self-contained breathing apparatus

1851 Born at Axford, Wiltshire, the son of Henry Joseph Fleuss (1811–1888) and his wife Charlotte Sophie Kolbach (1822–1891)

1878 November 30th. Married Rosabella Fane

In 1878 he was granted a patent for the first practical self contained breathing apparatus, which consisted of a rubber mask connected to a breathing bag, with (estimated) 50-60% O2 supplied from a copper tank and CO2 scrubbed by rope yarn soaked in a solution of caustic potash, the system giving a duration of about three hours.

1879 Fleuss tested his device by spending an hour submerged in a water tank, then one week later by diving to a depth of 5.5m in open water, upon which occasion he was slightly injured when his assistants abruptly pulled him to the surface.

c1880 Henry Albert Fleuss in conjunction with Siebe and Gorman produced the first practicable self-contained oxygen breathing apparatus[1].

1880 His equipment used by Alexander Lambert in the recovery of the Severn Tunnel

1882 Birth of daughter Ethel Rosabelle Fleuss (1882–1893)

1883 Birth of son Albert Henry Fleuss (1883–1939)

1883 Awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts

1893 Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership here-tofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Henry Albert Fleuss and Richard Charles Ashby, trading together as Umbrella Manufacturers, under the style or firm of Fleuss and Ashby, at 2, Fountain-court, Aldermanbury, in the city of London, has this day been dissolved by mutual consent....'[2]

1901 Living at Knowle Green, Staines: Henry A. Heuss (sic) (age 49 born Axford, Wiltshire), Consulting Engineer, own account. With his wife Rosabelle Heuss (age 44 born Southampton) and their son Albert H. Heuss (age 19 born Newton, IOW), Pupil Architect. Two servants.[3]

1911 Living at Dunstan Lodge, Thatcham, Berks: Henry Albert Fleuss (age 59 born Axford, Wilts), Engineer Specialist in Air Pumps. First Inventor of Miners Rescue Apparatus etc. Widower and working as a consulting engineer on own account. One servant Annie Grace Redknapp. [4]

1911 Awarded a second gold medal by the Society of Arts[5]

Some time before the First World War, the Fleuss-Davis independent breathing set for hardhat divers appeared. This device consisted of two 10-cubic-foot (280 Litre) tanks, one each for compressed air and oxygen. The gases were mixed in a manifold between the two tanks and the diver's mouthpiece. The manufacturer claimed success of this unit to depths of 66 feet.

Fleuss also invented the Fleuss vacuum pump which was a double action Guericke type pump which delivers an almost constant suction. It uses a cylinder divided in halves: as one half of the cylinder is filled with air, the other half is evacuating air to the atmosphere by one stroke of the pump. The next stroke reverses this action, producing the constant flow.

1933 January 6th. Died. Of Tor cottage, Thordon Cross, Okehampton, in Devon. Left estate to Annie Grace Redknapp, spinster and Percy Harry Giles, engineer.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 24 November 1952
  2. [1] Gazette Issue 26398 published on the 5 May 1893.
  3. 1901 Census
  4. 1911 Census
  5. The Engineer 1911/06/23