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British Industrial History

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Thomas Ernest Herbert

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Thomas Ernest Herbert (1875-1943)

1943 Obituary [1]

THOMAS ERNEST HERBERT was born in 1875 at Birmingham, where his father was the first Superintendent of Telegraphs, and was educated at King Edward School. One of his early ambitions was to become a Post Office engineer, and in 1891 he entered the G.P.O. service as a telegraphist. He was transferred to the P.O. Engineering Department in 1895, and from 1930 to 1935 he was Superintending Engineer of the South Lancashire District.

Before he was 19 years of age, Herbert had gained medals in telegraphy and telephony and a first-class honours certificate in electricity and magnetism. In 1894 he was invited to write a series of articles for the Telegraph Chronicle which were subsequently published in book form under the title " Electricity in its Applications to Telegraphy." Four years later his "Telephone System of the British Post Office" was published, and this was followed by his treatise on "Telegraphy," the standard work on the subject which has made his name known to telegraph men all over the world. His "Telephony" appeared in 1923; this was later revised in collaboration with W. S. Procter, and shortly before his death, which occurred on the 13th April, 1943, Herbert was again engaged in revising these two works.

With his striking personality, independent character and ready wit, he was always a noticeable figure. He was intensely proud of his profession, and he took a great interest in its younger members. Although he was a strict disciplinarian and did not always obey the injunction to suffer fools gladly, he was never harsh, and he was esteemed and respected by all who had the privilege of serving with him. He will be affectionately remembered.

He joined The Institution as an Associate in 1899 and was elected an Associate Member in 1900 and a Member in 1921.

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