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British Industrial History

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Edward Cox-Walker

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Edward Cox-Walker (1838-1928)

1928 Obituary [1]

EDWARD COX-WALKER was born at Stockton-on-Tees on the 26th October, 1838, and was educated at the Commercial College, York.

At the early age of 14 he entered the service of the original Electric Telegraph Co. as a junior operator at York under Mr. Theodore de Chesnel.

In 1858 he was appointed telegraph superintendent by the West Hartlepool Harbour and Railway Co., remaining with that company for about four years.

After spending a few years in London and Liverpool he returned to York and acted as manager for Messrs. Thomas Cooke and Sons, astronomical instrument makers, from 1868 until 1880.

In 1876 he became interested in telephony - Graham Bell having invented the telephone shortly before that time - and his experiments brought him into friendship with many well-known engineers, including Willoughby Smith, Edward Graves, Silvanus Thompson, Campbell Swinton, Sir William Preece and the Rev. H. Hunnings. He collaborated with the last mentioned and had much to do with the development of the well-known Hunnings granulated carbon transmitter, which is now universally used in modified forms.

In 1880 he settled in Darlington and established an electrical engineering business in partnership with Mr. Harrison, the firm being known as Harrison, Cox-Walker and Co., and specializing in telephones, electric tell-tales and signalling apparatus for mines. He still carried out numerous experiments, with the object of improving on the Bell receiver, and he patented duplex, quadruplex and octoplex instruments. The firm also manufactured Campbell Swinton instruments for the Equitable Telephone Association, Ltd., and later took up electric lighting and power work. The business, which became one of the best known in the North of England, was formed into a limited company and is still carried on as Cox-Walkers, Ltd.

He retired from the business in 1923 and died on the 27th May, 1928.

He joined the Institution in 1882 as an Associate and was transferred to full membership in the same year.

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