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British Industrial History

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Robert Percy Sellon

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Robert Percy Sellon (1863-1928), managing director of Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Also a director of London Electric Supply Co, Bournemouth and Poole Electricity Supply Co, Richmond Electric Light and Power Co, Johnson, Matthey and Co and the Otis Elevator Co

son of Colonel Robert Sellon Sellon

1928 Obituary [1]

ROBERT PERCY SELLON was the eldest son of Colonel Robert Sellon, R.E.

He was educated at Bradfield College and afterwards received his technical education at the City and Guilds Technical Institute.

In 1882 he joined the Brush Electrical Engineering Co., at that time called the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Co. He was rapidly advanced and in 1890 was appointed assistant manager. In 1892 he became joint manager and in 1893 managing director. Subsequently the control of the Brush Co. was acquired by the British Electric Traction Co. and he ceased to be a director.

In 1909 he became a director of the Electrical Power Distribution Co., which was also merged in the British Electric Traction Co. For some years afterwards he acted as director of various lighting and traction companies associated with the British Electric Traction Co., but when his engagements with Messrs. Johnson, Matthey and Co. increased he retired from the directorship of the B.E.T. Co.

At the time of his death he was a director of the County of London Electric Supply Co., Ltd., the Bournemouth and Poole Electricity Supply Co., and the Richmond Light and Power Co. He was one of the first advocates of the alternating-current system, with which the name of the Brush Company will always be associated. His early faith in alternating current has been fully justified by subsequent developments.

In 1897 he became a director of Otis Elevator Co., Ltd., of London and joined the board of Waygood-Otis, Ltd., on the formation of that company. He contributed largely to the success of these undertakings and his advice was sought on all important matters.

In 1910 he joined the board of Messrs. Johnson, Matthey and Co., Ltd., the well-known bullion merchants and refiners, as an executive or managing director under the chairmanship of his uncle, the late Mr. John Sellon. He was a man widely read and of great experience in company business and had the affectionate regard of all those who had the privilege of working with him. His powers of expressing his thoughts in clear English of the best type or of stating a case under consideration were unusual, and his opinions were listened to with respect by all his colleagues. In private life his tastes were literary and he was a great reader. He was also an ardent lover of nature and also took a leading part in everything which had to do with the good of the village in which he lived.

He died on the 11th January, 1928, aged 64 years.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1888 and served on the Council from 1899 to 1902.

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