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William Ranson Cooper

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William Ranson Cooper (1868-1926)

1926 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM RANSON COOPER, M.A., B.Sc, was born in 1868, at Hampstead, and died on the 15th March, 1926.

He graduated in the Royal University of Ireland as Master of Arts in Mathematical Science in 1890, afterwards going to the Central Technical College, where he studied for three years. Gaining a works premium there, he went to the Richmond Electricity Supply station, and to Messrs. Latimer, Clark, Muirhead and Co., who were then manufacturing dynamos and other electrical plant.

He next went to King's College and took his B.Sc, London, in physics and chemistry.

In 1895, Mr. G. H. Baillie and he joined Mr. J. Swinburne as assistants, becoming partners soon after. Mr. Swinburne had started Science Abstracts, and was editor at first. Mr. Cooper took over the editorship with its rapidly growing responsibilities; and its subsequent success is largely due to the good work he did in those days. During his partnership he did a great deal of difficult work. At one time he would be analysing the rare earths used in gas mantles; at another, he was putting in sewage plant and refuse destructors. Not only had he a good knowledge of general engineering, but he was also a good chemist and an able electrician, with a good mathematical foundation. His chief characteristic from a technical point of view was accuracy and thoroughness. All his work could be relied upon absolutely. It was always done, and always done correctly.

While in partnership with Mr. Swinburne he became editor of the Electrician. As this gradually absorbed his whole time his partnership was dissolved, but not the friendship which went with it.

He was secretary and director of the Damard Lacquer Co., makers of phenol formaldehyde resin products; and the success of that company is largely due to his strenuous work in its development.

He wrote a valuable work on "Primary Batteries," and edited the present edition of the Electrician primers. He also revised W. G. McMillan's "Electro-Metallurgy." He contributed various papers to scientific societies and the technical Press.

In 1902 he was awarded a Telford Premium by the Institution of Civil Engineers for a paper on " Electric Traction."

He was also interested in automobile matters, and carried out investigations on the problem of dust prevention. He served on the Council of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (1900-3), and of the Faraday Society. He was also vice-president of the Physical Society, and was honorary secretary for many years. He was always a modest man, in spite of his ability; and he was always fair and pleasant to deal with. If he had a temper, there was no evidence of its existence. He had a cultivated mind, was well-informed outside his profession, and was musical.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1895, an Associate Member in 1899, and a Member in 1903.

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