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British Industrial History

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Thomas Barton

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Thomas Barton (c1853-1927)


1927 Obituary [1]

THOMAS BARTON, one of the pioneers of the electrical industry, was born at Blackburn, his father being a well-known ironmonger in that town.

He was apprenticed to Messrs. Baldwin, a firm of iron and steel merchants and general hardware dealers, and early began to show a liking and aptitude for electrical work, carrying out at first electric bell and telephone work and then small electric lighting plants.

To further his knowledge he went for a time to the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation of Loughborough.

He then set up in business in Ainsworth-street, Blackburn, and developed a very large electrical contracting business. One of his early successes was the erection of arc lamps in front of the Town Hall to illuminate the declaration of the poll at a general election. Further pioneering work was the installation, of arc lamps on the Blackpool promenade and of an electric motor in a coal mine at Great Harwood for pumping water. He was also one of the first to install electric light in a paper mill and became an expert in that class of work.

About this time he carried out work in almost every part of the British Isles and was called in as consulting engineer by the Blackburn Corporation in connection with the town's electricity supply, and also by the Fleetwood Urban District Council and the Nelson Corporation. He gradually extended his business and manufactured dynamos, motors, switchboards, etc. Other branches in which he engaged were lightning conductors, chimney repairs, and telephone lines.

He died on the 2nd July, 1927, at the age of 74.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1894.


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