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September 12, 2014
Origins and Causes of the Great War 1914-1919

This is the second blog covering contextual material found in the IEE’s World War I Honour Roll, published in 1924.

At the beginning of the Honour Roll volume, before the start of the alphabetical listing of obituaries of members of the IEE who died as a result of the war, there is a 7 page account of the war titled, ‘The Origins and Causes of the Great War 1914-1919’.

Many people today would expect to see 1914-1918 used as the dates for the First World War. These dates commemorate the year the First World War began and the year in which the armistice was declared on 11 November 1918. However, it is not unusual to find the dates 1914-1919 on First World War memorials. The 1919 date refers to the year when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. This was the peace treaty drawn up by the nations who attended the Paris Peace Conference and officially ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers when it was signed on 28th June 1919. Although it is more uncommon the dates 1914-1921 also appear on some war memorials as on 25th August 1921 the United States of America signed a separate peace treaty with Germany, the Treaty of Berlin (information extracted from War Memorials Trust website

This 7 page account of the origins and causes of the war, written only a few years after the end of the war, is reproduced below.





Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 12 September 2014 04:05 PM     World War I     Comments (0)  

September 8, 2014
Library & Archives Blog Posts Related to World War I

On the Library & Archives blog page a new blog category has been created called World War I. This category has been created by the IET Archives to post WW1 related material and to show how a professional institution and its members were involved with the war effort.

The majority of blog posts will cover two types of archive material. The first type will be scans of the obituaries from the IEE’s WWI Roll of Honour and will be posted on the 100th anniversary of the death of each member of the IEE that is commemorated. These obituaries not only give an extensive biography of the individual but they also give detailed background to the specific military context in which a person died.

The Honour Roll (ref: IET/SPE/04/03/01) was published in 1924 after five years of painstaking research gathering records from all over Europe and the British Empire. The scan below, extracted from the Honour Roll, explains its objectives.



The second major type of post to the WW1 blog category will be monthly extracts from the IEE Council minutes of 100 years ago. The minutes shown will be those that are particularly relevant to the war and war effort. For example, the minute extracts below are IEE Council minutes from August 1914, the first month in which the minutes are heavily influenced by WW1 related matters and events.

Council meeting of 07 August 1914

“The President explained that the meeting had been called for the purpose of considering what steps (if any) should be taken by the Institution in connection with the war or any emergencies arising therefrom, and it was agreed as follows:-

(a) That the Institution take action to assist the authorities.

(b) To offer to the war Office free of charge, and for immediate occupation, the available space in the Institution building.

(c) To place the organisation of the Institution at the disposal of the Admiralty and of the War Office to select from its members available men trained in electrical engineering for any purpose the Admiralty or the War Office may indicate.

(d) To take steps with a view to assist in filling the vacancies occurring in the Public Services, Electric Power Stations, Tramways, etc.

(e) To appoint the following Committee to deal with the above matters, and with authority to take such further steps as they may deem advisable to utilise the organisation of the Institution in connection with the war or any emergencies that may arise therefrom.

National Service Committee

The President

Colonel R E Crompton CB

Mr F Gill

Mr R Hammond

Mr J S Highfield

Mr J E Hingsbury

Sir John F C Snell”

with a view to their publication in the Journal”.

Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 08 September 2014 02:44 PM     World War I     Comments (0)  

September 1, 2014
Library earlier closing days: September and October 2014
The following dates are known dates in August and September when the IET Library at One Birdcage Walk will close early, because of an organised event taking place in the Library Room. We apologise in advance for this inconvenience. When an event takes place the Library will normally close at 5pm rather than 5.30.
Please note additional events are sometimes added and some events are TBC (to be confirmed). We will update this blog and tweet changes as soon as possible.

01.09.14 Confirmed

02.09.14 Confirmed

10.09.14 TBC

11.09.14 Confirmed

19.09.14 TBC

23.09.14 TBC

30.09.14 Confirmed

01.10.14 Confirmed

09.10.14 Confirmed

21.10.14 TBC

23.10.14 TBC

28.10.14 Confirmed

30.10.14 Confirmed

To follow us on twitter: ">"
To telephone the library: 020 7344 5461


    Posted By: Dawn White @ 01 September 2014 11:38 AM     General     Comments (0)  

August 27, 2014
Oliver Heaviside, FRS, (1850-1925) - the Brilliant and Controversial Figure who Still Excites Passions Today

Oliver Heaviside, an important figure in the history of mathematics and electrical engineering, has close connections with the IET. He was the IEE's first Faraday Medal winner in 1922, and the IET Archives holds a significant collection of Heaviside's papers (SC MSS 5). The IET also has an oil portrait of Heaviside painted in 1945 by Francis Hodge. A photograph of Heaviside is shown below.

Oliver Heaviside was born in Camden Town, London on 18 May 1850, the youngest of four sons born to Thomas Heaviside and his wife Rachel West, whose sister Emma had married Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1847. Thomas Heaviside was a wood engraver and his wife was a governess and had taught the Spottiswoode family, including Sir William Spottiswoode who became President of the Royal Society. However, the family were very poor and the poverty of those early years had a lasting influence on Oliver. His education began at a girls' school run by his mother, but when this failed he was taught by Mr F R Cheshire at the Camden House School. He did not go to university but became a telegraph clerk for the Anglo Danish Telegraph Company, later the Great Northern Telegraph Company, in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1868.

In 1874 he retired from work due to increasing deafness. He then began work on a series of problems in telegraphy and signal transmission using experimentation, mathematics and vector analysis. He worked on Maxwell's equations concerning the electromagnetic theory of light. He predicted the existence of an ionised reflective layer in the atmosphere which would bounce radio signals back to earth - the ionosphere - which is known as the Heaviside layer in his honour, and also predicted the existence of sub-atomic particles and the idea that the mass of an electric charge increases with its velocity.

Heaviside was a difficult and eccentric man, caused partly by his deafness, and he cared nothing for the opinions of other scientists. He was convinced of the correctness of his workings using mathematical notation (vector algebra) which was almost impossible to understand by his contemporaries but which forms the basis of important areas of electrical engineering theory to this day. He had long and famous disagreements with Sir William Henry Preece over the introduction of inductance to long distance communication cables to improve the transmission of signals. Heaviside also disagreed with Lord Kelvin over the process by which electricity travelled down wires, leading to the production of Heaviside's transmission line equations, and over Kelvin's use of heat diffusion theory to calculate the age of the earth. However, Kelvin remained a lifelong friend of Heaviside.

Heaviside moved to Paignton in Devon with his parents to live near his brother Charles and his family. Both his parents had died by 1896 and in 1897 Heaviside moved to Newton Abbott where he lived until 1908 when he moved in with his sister in law's sister, Miss Mary Way in Torquay. He lived there until his death on 3 February 1925. In addition to the award of the Faraday Medal by the IEE he was made an Honorary Member of the AIEE. His published works include numerous papers and articles, Electromagnetic Waves (1889), Electrical Papers (1892) and Electromagnetic Theory (3 vols 1893-1912).

Heaviside's Papers in the IET Archives

After Heaviside's death in 1925, his nephew (Frederick Heaviside of Torquay) sold most of the papers he had gathered at his uncle's house to private collectors. Two years later in 1927, he sold the residue to the IEE for £120. This material was examined, soon after its arrival, by IEE member H J Josephs who commented, 'it did not contain any letters written by Heaviside himself; but it did contain letters from friends who were trying to get his fourth and concluding volume of Electromagnetic Theory published in America'.

Then in 1957, three large sacks of papers were found hidden under the floorboards of Heaviside's room in the house at Paignton where he lived from 1889 to 1897. These papers, which have been discussed in subsequent monographs, can also be found within the IET Archives Heaviside papers collection.

In addition to the Heaviside papers collection, Heaviside related material can be found widely throughout the other collections within the IET Archives. For example, there is a series of correspondence dating from 1922-1925 between J S Highfield, IEE President, and Heaviside about the award of the Faraday Medal (SC MSS 68), an audio recording on vinyl dating to 1950 which is a tribute to Oliver Heaviside by Oliver E Buckley, President of Bell Telephone Laboratories (IET/SPE/2/55); and there are numerous letters.

One such letter dated 8 October 1922, reproduced below, is a letter from Heaviside to the Brown family, saying that he had read a copy of the late William Gordon Brown's paper, admiring the quality of the work for one so young, and suggesting, "I do not think the Military Authorities should have accepted him as a fighting soldier. Ruffians are wanted for that. And I think the Military Authorities were very wrong in not overcoming the G.B.'s refusal by the simple process of compulsorily promoting him to one of their numerous scientific departments in which high mathematics would have been more useful than in the trenches'.

Heaviside Biographies and Appreciation of Heaviside

A volume titled 'The Heaviside Centenary Volume' was published by the IEE in 1950, which includes addresses made and papers presented at the Heaviside Centenary Meeting, 18 May 1950. However, there have been several recent biographies published since the 1980's., the latest of which is the 2009 work titled, 'Oliver Heaviside: Maverick Mastermind of Electricity' by B Mahon (volume 36 in the IET's History of Technology Series). These biographies are available in the IET Library.

Heaviside's importance continues to be recognised today and there are many enthusiastic supporters and promoters of his legacy. A current project involving Heaviside is called The Heaviside Memorial Project which aims to fund, through public subscription, and organise the restoration of the memorial to Heaviside and his family found in Paignton Cemetery, near Torquay. Here is a link to the website for that project which shows pictures of the cemetery plot and has a photograph of the Torbay Civic Society's blue plaque commemoration of Heaviside on the building where Heaviside lived between 1889 and 1897
Heaviside memorial Project

Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 03 September 2014 at 02:45 PM by Jonathan Cable


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 27 August 2014 01:43 PM     Archives     Comments (0)  

August 14, 2014
A picture is worth a thousand words
We are all familiar with photographs. They dominate social media such as Facebook, and Pintrest where the audience is invited to comment on what they see. It is an engaging activity, one in which the viewer becomes part of the process, the object the subject too. However, photography and the sharing of images is nothing new. Each photograph taken has had an audience in mind and how we interpret those images can reveal much of society's conventions.

The science behind the image

It is not the purpose of this blog to discuss the inventor of photography as many can lay claim to this accolade. But for simplicity's sake Louis Daguerre developed the daguerreotype process in 1839. The metal-based daguerreotype came in to competition from the paper-based calotype negative invented by Henry Fox Talbot. Fox Talbot made the first surviving photographic negative on paper in Britain in 1835.
Since then photography and the chemical process behind it excited scientists in to perfecting the art. One of those scientists was Sir Joseph Wilson Swan.

Swan was apprenticed to a chemist in his native town of Sunderland. He later became a business partner in a pharmacy in Newcastle which manufactured photographic plates. His interest in photography led him to make significant improvements in the field.

The first practical process for negatives on glass was introduced by F. Scott Archer in 1851. A sheet of glass was coated with a thin film of collodion (guncotton dissolved in ether) containing potassium iodide and was sensitised with silver nitrate. The plate had to be exposed while still wet. Swan and his partner, John Mawson, produced collodion and their improved technique gained recognition.

In addition to the collodion process Swan discovered how to make a sensitive dry plate in place of the less convenient wet collodion process and patented the method of printing using the carbon process in 1864. By 1871 R. L. Maddox proposed the use of silver bromide in gelatine to make dry photographic plates. Swan experimented and perfected the process and by 1877 Mawson and Swan's bromide plates were renowned. In 1879 Swan followed this success with the invention of bromide paper.

Swan is also remembered for his work on the incandescent electric lamp. More information about this can be found on the IET's biography on Joseph Swan. Among his many distinctions he was president of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1898.

Other scientists and inventors associated with the development of photography and the IET are Michael Faraday, Sir Francis Ronalds, Sir William Crookes and Silvanus P Thompson.

The collections of Faraday and Ronalds correspondence, deposited with the IET Archives, covers the subjects of early photographic processes. There is also a collection of pamphlets belonging to S P Thompson on the subject of photography.

Some examples of different photographs within the IET Archives

The portrait photograph developed from the painted portrait that has its roots in the Renaissance. Photographs of individuals imitated the conventions of portraiture such as pose, background and accessories. They were commissioned by the sitter and taken by a commercial photographer for a fee. Later as photography became more affordable and practical amateurs began to take photographs as a leisure time activity.

The earliest photograph in the IET Archives is a daguerreotype of Michael Faraday and William Thomas Brande in a presentation case. It was taken in 1848 by Maull and Polybank with a note by S P Thompson explaining that it was given to him by Sir William Crookes on 22 February 1913. The daguerreotype is a highly polished silver surface on a copper plate which was sensitised by iodine fumes exposed in a camera and the image developed by exposure to mercury powder. It can be easily damaged by touching therefore the case served as a means of protection as much as having an aesthetic quality.

An expression of time

As with painted portraits the early photograph was designed to portray the positive virtues of the subject. It is often remarked that Victorian photographs are devoid of emotion and facial expression. However, if one understands the conventions of the time then we can appreciate that they were trying to epitomise the ideal expression and reflect that on to the audience. They wanted to project the notion that they were dignified, pensive, absorbed in thought which in turn is what they wanted the viewer to emulate.

Similarly the pose was also important. Standing or seated can mean authority or an ease with his surroundings. Props and backgrounds can tell us a lot about the subject too. This harks back to painted backdrops used to create a stage. Books and scientific apparatus signify education, literacy and expertise in their chosen field.

A sense of touch

The Victorians believed that intimate emotions such as those conveyed through touch were not appropriate on display in publically viewed photographs. Therefore many family portraits or those of husbands and wives will show them distanced from each other or any physical contact is lacking in affection. Yet two photographs in the IET Archives collection show otherwise.

Michael Faraday married Sarah Barnard on 12 June 1821. There is little evidence to suggest as to the congeniality of their marriage but Faraday's collection of correspondence often refers to his wife and this photograph shows warmth between the two. It is interesting to note the direction of their gaze as this did comply with common practice. Faraday looks straight ahead which projected a sense of strength and engagement. Women on the other hand usually averted their gaze to suggest modesty.

Another photograph of F H Webb, Secretary of the Society of Telegraph Engineers, taken c1890 shows a pose with a child. Nothing is known about this photograph but it can be surmised that the child has a close relationship with Webb given the visibly affectionate composition.

This is just a snapshot of the many different types and subjects of photographs we hold in the IET Archives. For more information please see our online catalogue.

If this has sparked an interest in photography why not check out the Newcastle Photography Festival "A celebration of photography inspired by Joseph Swan and his adventures with carbon, collodion and light". It runs from 20-26 October 2014 and more information can be found by visiting:

Edited: 18 August 2014 at 03:10 PM by Asha Gage


    Posted By: Asha Gage @ 14 August 2014 03:09 PM     Archives     Comments (0)  

August 8, 2014
The Young Trophy and the Beginning of a Young Photographer's 60-Year Relationship with the IEE!

The Young Trophy is a prize awarded in a sporting competition between the student and graduate sections of professional engineering institutions. The competition first took place in 1933 when the student and graduates sections of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Institution of Mechanical Engineers jointly challenged the Institution of Electrical Engineers to compete in cricket and tennis matches.

Henry Thomas Young, Vice President of the IEE at the time and who went on to become President in 1936, was so impressed by the sporting spirit displayed on this occasion that he presented a trophy to be competed for annually by all three Institutions. This trophy was called the ‘Young Trophy’ in his honour.

Within a few years the sporting competition included additional sports not just cricket and tennis. The Young Trophy continues to be awarded to this day but now embraces teams comprised of students and young professional from a wider range of engineering institutions. In 2014 the format was a 5-aside football tournament and on 5 July 2014 the Institution of Civil Engineers were crowned champions with teams from the Institute of Acoustics and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

The Origins of the Trophy

The 30th anniversary programme, held in the IET Archives, explains how the first challenge and subsequent tournament began in the summer of 1933 when a challenge was sent to the Students’ Section of the IEE stating:

“The Chairman and Committees of the London Students of Civil Engineering and the Graduates’ Section of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers SUMMON HEREBY the Chairman and Committee of the Students’ Section of the Institution of Electrical Engineers to show their worth and prove their skill at the noble game of CRICKET and other manly sports, failing which shall they be declared poltroons and knaves in the sight of all Sportsmen.”

The reply, delivered in the same tone of humour, said:

“To all Apprenticed Enginewrights and Claypuddlers, know ye that whereas your betters in Council assembled, to wit the Chairman and Committee of the most exalted Institution of Electrical Engineers, have deigned to consider the presumptuous and overweening screed delivered these few days gone by a consortium of rude Mechanicals and indignant Civils (not excluding the Sanitary Branch), and have seen fit of their special grace and mere motion to treat with those arrogant and effete survivals of a murky and uncertain origin. Know ye also, o men of little worth, that ye enter upon this enterprise at your several perils, there being a very present risk of your being smitten hip and thigh by our superior prowess. Take heed, therefore, lest our most puissant might be loosed in tourney against ye. In fine- take heed!”

Following this verbal jousting, battle commenced on 1st July 1933 at Boston Manor and both cricket and tennis were played. The event was attended by Sir Murdoch MacDonald, ICE President; L. St. L. Pendred, Past-President of the IMechE, and Henry Thomas Young, Vice President of the IEE. The report of the event was as follows;

“The cricket began at a fast pace with the IEE batting first with a score of 120 for 8. However, the claypuddlers were on fighting form clocking up 40 runs before the IEE captain broke-up this dangerous partnership in his first over. The challenger's innings closed for 89. The tennis had the difficulty of a shortage of players as they were all in the cricket match! This did not dampen spirits and six doubles were played in all of which the IEE were victorious.”

In the early years it was agreed that the meeting should be a three cornered one. The holder of the Trophy, being challenged by one of the other Institutions, and the winner decided in a knock-out competition. The Electricals followed their success of 1933 by winning the Trophy in 1934. In 1937 the Young Trophy was won for the first time by the Institution of Civil Engineers.

1937 Young Trophy Competition and a Photographer at the Start of his Career as an Engineer

The IET Archives has very recently received a donation of two photographs, taken at the 1937 Young Trophy competition, which can be seen below (catalogued as IET/UNO/2/4). The photographs were taken by Norman R Rice, a Student member of the IEE and also a member of the IEE’s London Student’s Section. The photographs were donated by Norman's son Peter J Rice.

The first photograph shows the Young Trophy being received for the first time in its history by the Institution of Civil Engineers with Mrs H T Young, who presented the trophy, in the background..


A report about the 1937 competition, which at that time comprise shooting, tennis and cricket, was printed in the IEE’s Student’s Quarterly Journal under the title ‘Young Trophy changes hands: Civil persistence triumphs’. An extract from the report says;

“Last year the Civils swore by all their gods that they would wrest the Young Trophy from us this year. Their ju-ju appears potent, for they succeeded by a handsome margin. As explained elsewhere, we were a poor second in the shooting tie, scoring only 80 as against 121. Our tennis was certainly on a higher level, but even so we again lost to the Civils by 5-4. This can only be attributed to those members who promised to play and then two days before the matches asked to be excused…. The cricket was much more successful, although here again our team was short of one man. However, we managed to give the Civils a run for their money, and were only beaten by 7 runs.” A full cricket scorecard is also given in the report.

The second photograph shows spectator’s at the Young Trophy including Henry Thomas Young himself (second person on the left).


The photographer for these two photographs, Norman Richard Rice, joined the IEE as a Student member in 1931 and he studied electrical engineering at Battersea Polytechnic from 1931 to 1934. Norman graduated with a BSc (Eng.) in 1934 and became a Graduate member of the IEE. His link with the Young Trophy and the London Student’s Section can be explained because in 1933 (aged 20) he was Assistant Secretary for Visits, IEE London Students Section and he became Vice Chairman of the London Students' Section in 1935.

Little could Norman have envisaged at that time that he would retain his link to the IEE for over 60 years! Having joined in 1931, he went on to became an Associate Member in 1940 and a Member in 1966, when the membership category structure changed. His name continued to appear on the IEE’s published membership lists until his last appearance on the list of 1994/1995.).

Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 03 September 2014 at 01:57 PM by Library and Archives Moderator


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 08 August 2014 04:14 PM     Archives     Comments (0)  

July 31, 2014
IEE Pre-1930 Membership Records Now Available on Ancestry - Uncovering the Hidden Engineers including Jekyll and Hyde!

The pre-1930 membership records held by the IET Archives consist of the IEE’s membership application forms pre-1902 (no physical application forms exist after 1902) and also the published membership lists of the IEE. In 2013 Ancestry, the company which provides online resources to family historians, began a programme to digitise these records. Those records recently became publicly accessible via Ancestry’s website.

All visitors to the IET Archives, IET Library and Michael Faraday House, Stevenage can access the full website, not just the IEE’s membership records, for free from selected computer terminals at those locations. In addition IET Members worldwide can access IEE records on Ancestry, by contacting the IET Archives with their membership number, and we will provide details on how to log in. Further information on these digitised records and how to access them can be found on the IET Archives website page with the web address,

The digitised pre-1930 records can be used to find the membership application forms of engineers who joined either the Society of Telegraph Engineers (STE), since its creation in 1871, or who joined its successor, the Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians, which then became the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1889. Amongst the membership application forms can be found those of many noted engineers for example, Nikola Tesla. The 1891 application form for Nikola Tesla to join the IEE as a Foreign Member is reproduced below.



Jekyll and Hyde and their links to the Institution of Electrical Engineers

The link between the published membership lists and Jekyll and Hyde is a story that was told by Sarah Hale in the ‘from the vaults’ column in the IET’s Member News, March 2013. The story is repeated below;

“Most people will be familiar with the 1886 novella ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson, the tale of a morally just man who transforms into an evil criminal after consuming a self-invented potion. The phrase ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has since become a by-word to describe anybody or anything with a split personality, but where did Stevenson find inspiration for these intriguing and somewhat unusual names? As a novelist with a vivid imagination, it may be that he simply plucked them out of thin air, indeed, the name Jekyll originates from Stevenson’s native Scotland; but there is some evidence to suggest that he took these names from the first membership list of the Society of Telegraph Engineers.

The link between Jekyll and Hyde and the STE was first noticed by Rollo Appleyard in his book ‘The History of the Institution of Electrical Engineers 1871-1931’. When discussing the early days of the STE and referring to the membership list, which was published in 1872, Appleyard noted “the curious addition of Jekyll and Hyde”. ‘Jekyll’ was Lt H Jekyll, Royal Engineer, and one of the first members to join in 1871, while ‘Hyde’ was Major General H Hyde of the India Office, another prominent telegraph engineer of the time. There is also another name in the list that corresponds with a character in the novella, Frederick C Danvers, who shares a name with Hyde’s victim in the book, Sir Danvers Carew. A number of other characters also share names with civil and mechanical engineers of the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Inspector Newcomen, who possibly derived his name from the famed steam engine inventor.


These links were passed off as coincidental and not pursued further until 1949, when the IEE contacted the Society of Genealogists to ask them to research into the possibility of a relationship between Stevenson and Edward Alfred Stevenson, a member of the STE who also appears in the first membership list. The IET Archives hold a copy of the report that the Society of Genealogists sent to the IEE as a result of this research. It was concluded in the report that there was no link between Robert Louis Stevenson and Edward Alfred Stevenson, and suggested that Robert Louis Stevenson may have found access to the STE membership lists via his father, who was a prominent Scottish lighthouse engineer. There may have been some truth in this, but it is also possible that Stevenson came across the membership lists another way. As well as being the son of a lighthouse engineer, Stevenson studied engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Though he would come to loathe the subject and seek a career as a writer, Stevenson developed a close friendship with his professor at Edinburgh, Fleeming Jenkin. While Jenkin was a pioneering electrical and telegraph engineer, both men shared an avid interest in poetry and theatre and took part in amateur dramatics together. When Jenkin died suddenly in 1885 Stevenson was distressed and shocked. To aid the grieving process he began writing a memoir of Jenkin that was completed in 1887.


It is Stevenson’s friendship with Jenkin that perhaps provides the strongest evidence that he was inspired by the STE membership list for his characters’ names in ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. He wrote the book at the same time as writing Jenkin’s memoir during a period of intense activity and so it is likely that his research for the memoirs may have influenced the thinking behind the novella. This idea is compounded when one actually looks at the page of the STE membership list that contains the names of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. Col H Hyde and Lt H Jekyll are right next to each other, while Fleeming Jenkin FRS MICE, of 5 Fettes Row, Edinburgh, is two places directly below Jekyll. Did Stevenson look up Jenkin’s entry in the STE membership lists, and see the names of Jekyll and Hyde so close together and be inspired, consciously or subconsciously, to use them in his latest work of fiction?”

The first published membership list of the STE to which the above story refers is not one of the lists digitised by Ancestry as the list was published as part of the STE journal, but the entry as published in that journal is reproduced below.


Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 31 July 2014 02:52 PM     Archives     Comments (0)  

July 9, 2014
18th Century Italian Earthquake Records - Conservation of Rare Books Held in the IET Archives

Whilst the large majority of published books and volumes, regardless of age, are held by the IET Library, there are a small number of rare books which because of their value or fragility are held within the IET Archives.

One such volume is the ‘Carta Corografica Della Calabria Ultiore’, a volume of large maps and engravings which was published in the 1780’s and which illustrates the aftermath of the Calabrian earthquakes of 1783. The 1783 Calabrian earthquakes were a sequence of five strong earthquakes, two of which produced significant tsunamis, which hit the region of Calabria in southern Italy which at the time was part of the Kingdom of Naples. The earthquakes occurred over a period of almost two months, all with magnitudes of 5.9 or greater and which have been estimated to have cause the deaths of 32,000 to 50,000 people.



The Neapolitan Royal Academy sent an expedition to Calabria following the earthquakes which in addition to causing vast numbers of deaths, destroyed hundreds of villages, caused mountains to collapse, and changed the courses of rivers. Even the coastline was altered as a result of the earthquakes.

The expedition comprised a group of scientists including Michele Sarconi, Angiolo Fasano, Nicolo Pacifico, Padre Eliseo della Concezione and Antonio Minasi as well as architects and draughtsmen. Padre Eliseo was the individual responsible for designing the Carta Corografica, a very accurate overview of the changes experienced by the region.



One importance of this work by Padre Eliseo is that it is the first seismic map produced in Italy and it rectifies the errors in latitude and longitude in previous maps of the region. Pere Eliseo designed the maps with the help of a ‘macchina equatoriale’ which he himself had invented and which is illustrated on the last page.



In addition to the numerous plates showing views of the area there are several engravings illustrating fossils such as the following illustration of ‘echiniti’ found near Orsigliadi.



This volume had been in quite poor condition, with a significant amount of dirt, some water damage and some missing pieces of paper around the edges (not affecting the individual plates). A few years ago the decision was taken that the volume required conservation work to stop any further significant and/or rapid deterioration in the volume. A specialist paper conservator was used to clean the individual pages, and repair the edges of the plates including the filling of the holes with a specialist conservation grade paper.

The restored volume, following conservation treatment, is now wrapped in protective paper within its own ‘book box’ and is stored in the Archive Centre strongroom and through this intervention is available to be consulted by both researchers and members of the IET.

Historical records such as these can often be used by present day researchers to re-evaluate past events and develop a better understanding of seismic activity. In the case of the Calabrian earthquakes there was a paper published in 2006 in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences titled, ‘A revision of the 1783-84 Calabrian (southern Italy) tsunamis’, which analysed historical sources to calculate that there had been 3 more tsunamis than previously estimated, and that the tsunamis had been previously underestimated and ‘erroneously considered a minor event’.

Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 11 July 2014 at 08:45 AM by Jonathan Cable


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 09 July 2014 02:06 PM     Archives     Comments (0)  

July 4, 2014
New Collections Recently Deposited with the IET Archives

The IET Archives continues to receive a steady stream of fascinating deposits related to the history of engineering and technology and to key individuals who made important contributions to those sectors. Two such recent deposits are highlighted below.

Records of the STC Technical Society, latterly The Technical Society


The recent deposit comprises papers of the Society, primarily from the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and includes items such as committee minutes, details of programmes and events, and accounts.

The Society was founded as the Western Electric Engineering Society in 1912, a technical society for employees of Western Electric, which held regular technical meetings, lectures and organised visits. Western Electric began life in London as International Western Electric in 1883 (an agent for the US company Western Electric). The original notice proposing the Engineering Society was circulated amongst members of the Engineering Department on 5 September 1912.

In 1925 Western Electric's international operations were bought by ITT Corporation of the US and the company's UK operations were renamed Standard Telephones and Cables.

Soon after the end of World War II the Engineering Society was continued as the STC Telephone Technical Society (TTS). Members were then mostly electro-mechanical engineers and sales engineers with other members of the Telephone Division. Personnel engaged in, and associated with, the Manufacturing Division (Telephones) were allowed to become Associate Members subject to Committee approval. The highest number of members was just under 600 and in May 1985 membership totalled 551.

The 12 May 1989 constitution of the STC Telephone Technical Society (issue 14) shows that Full Membership was open to all employees of STC plc. Associate Membership was open to previous employees of STC plc who had retired and had been approved by the Committee. A class of Honorary Members could be elected by the Committee and there was an Associates class for people connected with Full Members.

In 1991 STC was bought by Northern Telecom of Canada (Nortel) and the name of the Society was changed to The Technical Society still referred to as TTS.

The collection has been catalogued as NAEST 227 and forms a useful addition to the collection of papers of STC, including photographs, related to its site at New Southgate (collection NAEST 211). NAEST 211 is a very large collection and is currently being catalogued as part of a long term project. The photograph below is one of the many images held within numerous albums in NAEST 211



Paul Voigt papers 

Another recent addition to the IET Archives is a collection of photographs related to Paul Voigt (collection SC MSS 111/3) which joins a small collection of Voigt papers already held in the IET Archives (SC MSS 111/1-2). 

Paul Voigt was born in London on 9 December 1901 and gained a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from UCL at the age of 21. Voigt was first employed by J E Hough Ltd in 1922 at the Edison-Bell works in Peckham, London where he was employed for his specialist wireless knowledge. 

By 1926 Voigt had developed the 1st British electric recording system. Many Edison Bell products were protected by patents taken out by Voigt. After the cessation of trading of Edison Bell in 1933 Voigt set up his own company called Voigt Patents Ltd, based in Sydenham, London, and the company's 'Domestic Corner Horn' was released in 1934. 

During World War II the company's main work came from maintaining its horn speakers installed in cinemas. Voigt moved to Canada with his wife in April 1950, having previously come to an agreement with the Lowther Manufacturing Company to produce the Domestic Corner Horn under licence. 

Paul Voigt died 9 February 1981. [biographical information extracted from Lowther Voigt Museum website]. 

The collection was generously deposited by Mr E H Stubbes, a long-term supporter of the legacy of Paul Voigt and one of the main contributors to the ‘pink fish media’ website which is dedicated to promoting the legacy of Paul Voigt. For anyone interested in finding our more about Paul Voigt here is a link to that website;

There is very little material relating to Voigt known to survive and the most important photograph within the deposit is the photograph reproduced below which is a photograph of Voigt from the early 1920’s.


Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 07 July 2014 at 10:32 AM by Jonathan Cable


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 04 July 2014 02:20 PM     Archives     Comments (0)  

July 2, 2014
Key Note market reports

The IET Library is now able to offer all members and staff full access to ALL Key Note reports until March 2015 these range from the Aerospace Industry to the Water Industry. See a full list of reports at:

Key Note is one of the leading providers of market intelligence in the UK, on the UK, to the UK, and provides commercially relevant market insight and analysis to the business and academic world to enable them to make strategic business decisions.

Each Key Note Market Research report is made up of:

Executive Summary: A one/two page distillation of the report's main points
Market Definition: A description of the market as a whole, the specific market sectors, general trends, and factors
Market Size: The total market size by sector
Industry Background: Recent history, industry concentration, distribution channels, employment, trade associations
Competitor Analysis: The major players and their brands, advertising and promotion spend where appropriate
SWOT: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
Buying Behaviour: Trends, survey results, purchasing patterns, expenditure
Current Issues: Brand/product development, mergers and acquisitions, recent/impending legislation
Market Forecasts: 5-year forecasts and prospects
Company Profiles: Structure and financial accounts of some of the leading players in the sector
Further Sources: A directory of sources which can supply further information if required
Company Financials: Market leaders with financial results


For logon details go to:


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 02 July 2014 12:11 PM     General     Comments (0)  

June 23, 2014
Mrs Ayrton and the Hissing of the Electric Arc

“more can be learned from a careful observation of small phenomena, by observation and reflection in fact, than by passing any number of examinations…”

In 1899 a paper entitled, ‘The Hissing of the Electric Arc’ was presented to the Institution of Electrical Engineers and published in its journal. The subject matter was not unusual, but this was a first for the institution: a paper written and presented by a woman.

Hertha Ayrton was a mathematician and physicist whose work applied physical principles to practical engineering problems. Born Phoebe Sarah Marks (changing her name as a teenager after a Swinburne poem), she received an usually excellent education at a London school run by her aunt, Marion Hartog. Hertha’s widowed mother thought it was very important that her daughter be well-educated, because ‘women have the harder battle to fight in the world.’

Thanks to Barbara Bodichon, the co-founder of Girton College and a family friend, Hertha was able to attend Girton and study mathematics. After graduating, she returned to London to teach and met her husband William Ayrton while attending classes at Finsbury Technical College. William encouraged Hertha to continue her work after their marriage and the birth of their daughter, but it was a legacy from Barbara Bodichon which enabled her to employ a housekeeper and free up time for research.



Arc lamps were the first practical electric lamps and would have been seen and used widely in 1899, mainly for external and street lighting. The light came from a bright white spark generated by an electric current travelling between two carbon rods. Sometimes these lamps made humming and hissing noises, and it was the hissing on which Ayrton focused her research. This hissing meant that the arc was becoming unstable and less efficient. Ayrton set out to study the phenomenon in painstaking detail, concluding that it was the result of changes in the shape of the carbon ends. She stated that a) the hissing arc was caused by a crater shape forming on one side of the carbon (this is illustrated by a series of diagrams in the Journal), and b) that the drop in current thus produced is due to the effect of oxygen reaching this crater and combining with the carbon on the surface.

Ayrton concluded by thanking the IEE for giving her the chance to present her paper. This may seem odd to us, but a few years later her request to present a paper to the Royal Society was turned down on the grounds that she was a woman (as was her application for fellowship). Her paper at the IEE, in contrast, generated an enthusiastic response. The President, the electric lighting pioneer Sir Joseph Swan, stated that ‘I am sure that we on our part feel more than honoured that Mrs. Ayrton has chosen this Institution as the medium of [her paper’s] publication.’ A lively debate on the findings of Ayrton’s research followed – the original paper is thirty pages long, with the discussion taking up another twenty. The President concluded with,

“It is the first paper we have had the pleasure of receiving from Mrs Ayrton; I sincerely hope it will not be the last. We do not have the honour of numbering among us any lady members, but I do not know any legal disability against ladies becoming members. If not, I hope we may look forward to the pleasure of numbering Mrs Ayrton among the members of the Institution before long.”

Hertha Ayrton was elected as the first woman Member of the IEE later that year.

Ayrton went on to publish a book on the arc lamp and also extended her research to the phenomena of sand ripples and vortices in water and air. This research would lead to the development of the ‘Ayrton fan’, used in the First World War to expel gas from the trenches.


IET Archives biography

 WES Magnificent Women biographies:


Anne Locker, IET Library and Archives

Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 23 June 2014 at 11:31 AM by Jonathan Cable


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 23 June 2014 11:13 AM     Archives     Comments (0)  

June 10, 2014
Two Recent Deposits Related to the 19th Century

Two recent deposits to The IET Archives have a connection to the 19th century. The first deposit is an object manufactured in 1898 by a US company with an interesting British electrical engineering connection. The second deposit is a privately published biography, published in 2013, about the 19th century electrician and electrical engineer Owen Rowland. 

Weston Electrical Voltmeter, 1898


The 1898 object is a Weston Electrical Instrument Co, Newark, New Jersey, USA voltmeter. It comes in an attractive wooden box and has a certificate number 2056 [IET Archives catalogue reference OPC/1/186]. The full title of the voltmeter is a Weston standard portable alternating & direct current voltmeter. The certificate, pasted into the wooden box housing the voltmeter, says that it was standardized at 101 St Martin's Lane, London on 11 November 1898 and was certified by A C Heap. 

The Weston Electrical Instrument Co was founded by the British-born American electrical engineer and industrialist, Edward Weston, in 1888. Edward Weston was a British-born American electrical engineer and industrialist who founded the Weston Electrical Instrument Company. A prodigious inventor, Weston held 334 patents, and helped revolutionize the measurement of electricity. In 1886 he developed a practical precision, direct reading, portable, instrument to accurately measure electrical current. 

Weston, who was born in Shropshire (England), moved to New York, USA, at the age of 20 where he found a job in the electroplating industry. In 1872 he opened a business in partnership with George G. Harris, called Harris & Weston Electroplating Co. He patented the nickel-plating anode here in 1875 and then developed his first dynamo for electroplating. 

By 1875 he moved to New Jersey, and began making dynamos. His company eventually became the Weston Electric Light Company, which won the contract to illuminate the new Brooklyn Bridge. 

In 1887, having left the generator and lamp business, he established a laboratory, and the following year the Weston Electrical Instrument Company began trading. In 1888 he developed a practical precision, direct reading, portable, instrument to accurately measure electrical current. The Weston Standard Cell, developed in 1893, was recognized as an international standard and was used by the National Bureau of Standards for almost a century to calibrate other meters. 

Weston became a U.S. citizen in 1923 and in 1932 Dr Edward Weston received the IEEE’s Lamme Medal ‘for his achievements in the development of electrical apparatus, especially in connection with precision measuring instruments’. 

Biography of Owen Rowland (1820-1877)


Two copies of this Owen Rowland biography, written by Michael J Cooke, were recently deposited with the IET by the author, one copy with the IET Archives and one copy with the IET Library. 

This is the first account of Owen Rowland’s activities. Rowland was appointed by William Fothergill Cooke as his resident engineer in 1844 for the construction of the first long-distance telegraph in Britain, and he was commissioned in 1857-58 to install the country’s first ‘truly overhead’ telegraph lines. If this wasn’t enough Rowland set up two periodicals in the early 1860’s, The Electrician and The Telegraphic Journal, and in the 1870’s ran a ‘weather forecast and storm warning’ service supplying daily forecasts to newspapers at a time when the Meteorological Office had stopped doing this. 

The IET Archives’ copy of this volume has an archive catalogue reference SC MSS 255 and is one of several privately published, unpublished, or draft biographies held by the IET Archives.

Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 12 June 2014 at 10:53 AM by Jonathan Cable


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 10 June 2014 10:25 AM     Archives     Comments (1)  

May 28, 2014
Objects in the IET Archives

In the first half of the 20th century a decision was made to relocate the objects held in the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) Museum. Since then objects have not been part of the IET Archives’ collecting policy. However, this does not mean that there are no objects in the IET Archives or under the care of the archivists or that objects do not, very occasionally, get added to the IET Archives.  

IEE Museum

The IEE started its electrical museum in 1901, in part due to the accommodation problems being experienced by the Victoria and Albert Museum (previously called the South Kensington Museum) which in 1901 included science collections – the Science Museum came formally into independent existence in 1909. Even in 1901 the IEE Council were making arrangements for the ‘South Kensington Museum’ to receive objects of public interest from the IEE collection on loan.

Early in 1923 the IEE Council and the Science Museum agreed to transfer the bulk of the IEE’s museum collection to the Science Museum amounting to several hundred objects. A further batch of historic objects was loaned to the Science Museum in 1953 and in 1994 the IEE converted its entire loan collection at the Science Museum into a gift.

Objects currently held by the IET Archives

Whilst the IET Archives usually decline offers of historic objects, and instead work with potential donors to find other homes for these objects, objects can still be found in the IET’s collections. These objects may be gifts to the IEE/IET and its Presidents and officials. Many such gifts were received in 1971 when we celebrated our centenary. On occasions small objects accompany manuscript donations to the archives such as medals awarded to individuals. Others have important associations with engineering history such as a small section of the transatlantic cable.

Some of the more unusual objects found in the archives include tea towels. One of the most frequently consulted collections is that of the records of the Electrical Association for Women (collection reference NAEST 093) which was formed in 1924. This collection includes a series of tea towels (NAEST 093/10/02) which the EAW used to explain the use of certain electrical items in the home. Tea towel subjects include ‘connections for standard plugs’, ‘which fuse’, and reading a meter.



The IET Archives only this week received the deposit of 2 tea towels (accession 2014-04), one of which included a new design not currently held in NAEST 093/10/02.

Large objects held in the IET Archives

Most of the objects still remaining in the archives are small items but there are some larger things such as the IET’s portraits, which are under the custodianship of the IET Archives. The largest single object that we currently hold is the metal railway locomotive nameplate ‘The Institution of Electrical Engineers’.



This sign is a significant item of railway heritage and is item serial number 437 (not designated), registered number 2002/07, on the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board's list (replaced the Railway Heritage Committee in March 2013). It is described on that list as 'locomotive nameplate: The Institution of Electrical Engineers (86607)'. The item is considered a 'disposed item' within the IET's jurisdiction.

Usually when talking to one of the IET’s archivists you will hear them say that the IET does not hold or accession objects. Whilst true as a general rule, you will now know to take this statement with a very small pinch of salt!

Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 10 June 2014 at 10:52 AM by Jonathan Cable


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 28 May 2014 03:59 PM     Archives     Comments (0)  

May 9, 2014
Donation: Modern Railways


The library has one new addition to its printed serial collection. The title of the journal is Modern Railways, donated by the IET Member Mr Clive Price from his many years of assemblage mainly from 1993 through to January 2014. This journal series has been found to be one of our most popular subject titles and has been reviewed for a continuous subscription by the library.

This journal is aimed at professionals in the railway industry as well as individuals with a general interest in the state and developments of the British railway network.

 The Modern Railway website defines it as: ‘providing in depth coverage for all aspects of the industry, from traction and rolling stock to signalling and infrastructure management, Modern Railways carries not only the latest news but also analysis of why those events are happening’.


It is a privilege to bring to your notice that Modern Railways Journal from 1993 to the latest publications is available in the library collection for all your research and reference needs.


Written by Ezekiel Peters-Ugowe


Edited: 09 May 2014 at 03:54 PM by Mike Dunne


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 09 May 2014 03:45 PM     General     Comments (0)  

April 23, 2014
Library link

Download the Library Link app for Apple or Android devices. Open Library Link on your mobile device. Select setup, press the 'Scan setup image' button, then scan the above image.


One of the new features we have is the Library Link setup APP. You can download this to your Apple or Android device. From here you can search the Library catalogue, check what you have on loan and renew items if overdue, view the front portal and new items of stock. To access you will need a password, which is PASSWORD.

If you would like more information on these or any other library related item please contact.


Written by Dawn White


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 23 April 2014 04:49 PM     General     Comments (0)  

April 15, 2014
Updating your library details

From the new online catalogue members can maintain their own Library details. If your details are incorrect or you have changed address please let us know by following these simple instructions:

Log onto the IET homepage using your username and password

On the left hand side you will see MY PORTAL, click on this, then click details.Check the details we have for you are correct, if not click on EDIT and send us an email with the corrections. Once we have amended your Library details we will then reply and let you know this has been completed.



 Written by Dawn White



Edited: 23 April 2014 at 08:36 AM by Mike Dunne


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 15 April 2014 02:43 PM     General     Comments (0)  

March 28, 2014
Engineering Source

We now have available for members to search the database package Engineering Source  from Ebsco.

 Engineering Source

Engineering Source offers a broad range of engineering-related content. The comprehensive full-text database is designed to support the information needs of engineers at all levels, including research, planning, product development, management and the supply chain.

The collection provides full-text coverage of information relevant to many engineering disciplines, including:  Aerospace, Biomedical, Civil, Electrical, Environmental, Mechanical, Software and  Structural engineering.

Engineering Source indexes over 3,000 publications, including journals, monographs, magazines and trade publications, all directly dealing with engineering-related issues.  Energy-focused monographs, books, conference papers and proceedings are also included

This database offers 1850 full text titles, including such well known journals as:

Electronics Weekly
Environmental Engineering
IEEE Internet computing 
IET Microwaves, Antennas & Propagation

For a full list of journal coverage- go to EbscoHost-Publications- Engineering Source publications.

Engineering Source


Engineering Source can be search alongside our other Ebsco based resources- Business Source Corporate, Sustainability, Greenfile and General Science- using the general search screen.

To access EbscoHost- log on to the IET website- Resources- Virtual Library-EbscoHost.

Engineering Source is also available on the Ebsco Discovery Service

Edited: 28 March 2014 at 02:36 PM by Mike Dunne


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 28 March 2014 02:10 PM     General     Comments (0)  

March 21, 2014
The Importance of a Thimble in the History of the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable

One of the collections in the IET Archives, rediscovered as a result of the move of the archives out of Savoy Place, is an album of transatlantic telegraph ephemera which contains material from the period 1862 to 1872 (catalogue reference SC MSS 254). The album, titled, ‘Atlantic Telegraph 1865’ is likely to have belonged originally to Sir Peter FitzGerald, the 19th Knight of Kerry (1808-1880). Sir Peter was a Vice-Treasurer of Ireland in the last ministry of Sir Robert Peel and he succeeded his father as an Irish landlord, residing on Valentia Island just off the coast of mainland Ireland.

Valentia is important in the history of the transatlantic telegraph cable as it was the location of one end of the cable that was successfully laid over the period 1865 to 1866 and Sir Peter devoted much of his time and efforts to ensure that the laying of the cable was a success.

The album contains press cuttings, letters, photographs and other paper-based ephemera primarily related to the 1865-1866 Atlantic telegraph cable. There is a significant amount of correspondence with noted politicians of the time such as a letter from William Ewart Gladstone when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, letters from Sir Robert Peel, 3rd Baronet, the Irish Secretary in Palmerston's ministry, and letters from Stratford Canning, 1st Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe. There is also a significant amount of correspondence and ephemera related to those closely involved with the 1865 Atlantic telegraph cable such as the Atlantic Telegraph Company and officers/passengers on the various ships involved with the cable laying operations.

The relevance of a thimble to the transatlantic cable was mentioned to us recently by a thimble researcher, Anne Jansen, who was made aware of a ‘thimble letter’ contained within the album, having heard about it from Tessa O’Connor at the Valentia Heritage Centre in 1988. A press cutting in the album next to the letter says:-

 “The contents of a lady’s thimble would hardly be expected to constitute a very powerful instrument. They would scarcely have been thought capable of one of the most astonishing feats ever performed by science. The Chairman, however, of the Atlantic Telegraph Company informs us that this little instrument has actually achieved such a feat. By way of experiment, the Engineer of the Company joined the extremities of the two cables which now stretch across the Atlantic, thus forming an immense loop line of 3,700 miles. He then put some acid in a lady’s silver thimble with bits of zinc and copper, and by this simple agency he succeeded in passing signals through the whole length in little more than a second in time.”

The letter in the album, relating to this thimble, is reproduced below;

The letter, dated 12 September 1866 is from Latimer Clark, who acted as an engineer for the Anglo-American Telegraph Company at the time (the engineer referred to in the press article) and went on to become the 4th President of the Society of Telegraph Engineers (predecessor of the IET). The letter sent to Emily Fitzgerald, daughter of Sir Peter, says,

“Mr Latimer Clark presents his compliments to Miss FitzGerald and begs to return her thimble with many thanks, assuring her that when containing a little acid and a fragment of zinc, it formed the most efficient battery, and messages were readily transmitted by its means through both the Atlantic cables, even when they were joined together in a loop at Newfoundland, so as to form a circuit 3742 miles in length. Valentia September 12 1866.”

The album contains a small image of Emily next to the letter and the press cutting. The photograph is shown below. 


Jon Cable
Assistant Archivist
The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Edited: 21 March 2014 at 09:09 AM by Jonathan Cable


    Posted By: Jonathan Cable @ 21 March 2014 08:57 AM     Archives     Comments (1)  

February 21, 2014
Improvements to the online library catalogue

The Online library catalogue will not be available to members between Monday 3rd March 2014  – Monday 24th March 2014 inclusive. A new improved library management system is being installed.

This upgrade will ensure efficient seaching and a better user experience, allowing users to find what they need, when they need it.

To request or renew books during this period please contact the Library enquiry desk:
Library tel: +44(0)20 7344 5461

More information concerning the new library system will be available shortly.

Edited: 12 March 2014 at 03:41 PM by Mike Dunne


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 21 February 2014 11:19 AM     Service changes     Comments (0)  

February 12, 2014
A new platform for Knovel

Knovel is specifically focused on the engineering community. It is an interactive full-text database of scientific and engineering handbooks and references. It aggregates content from a variety of sources including well known publishers such as Elsevier, PennWell, Oxford University Press, Fairmont Press and Taylor & Francis.

 Knovel search screen

The IET subscribes to 458 electronic full text books from Knovel.

To access the service:

Sign into the IET website and go to:

For further help:

See the attached Hints and tips for using Knovel

Go to Knovel's Support Centre

Edited: 12 February 2014 at 09:57 AM by Mike Dunne


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 12 February 2014 08:41 AM     General     Comments (0)  

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