Library and Archives
Library and Archives - New Archive Acquisition - J E Calverley and T E Calverley Papers
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December 3, 2013
New Archive Acquisition - J E Calverley and T E Calverley Papers

The IET Archives recently received a donation from the Calverley family of a small number of the papers of John Earnshaw Calverley and his son Thomas Earnshaw Calverley, who recently passed away and whose obituary appears on page 25 of IET Member News, November 2013. Both the father and the son were very successful and noted electrical engineers whose personal histories are also interwoven with the history of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

John Calverley was the co-inventor of the transverter together with W E Highfield, and the papers deposited in the IET Archives consist primarily of correspondence and agreements related to the transverter and transverter related publications. The transverter was exhibited by English Electric at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924 and the majority of papers date from the 1910's and 1920's. Unexpected discoveries amongst John Calverley's papers were letters from John Somerville Highfield, who was the IEE President in 1921. William Eden Highfield was John Somerville Highfield's younger brother and together they had their own engineering consulting business. Despite W E Highfield being the co-inventor of the transverter with John Calverley, several of the letters in this collection, relating to the commercial arrangements concerning the transverter, were between John Calverley and J S Highfield.

The John Calverley papers also give an insight into commercial arrangements in the early 20th century between inventors and their employers when inventions were patented whilst working for those employers. In this case John Calverley and W E Highfield were both working for the company Dick Kerr and Company Ltd (taken over by English Electric in 1919), when they invented the transverter.

Thomas Calverley, John's son, was honoured in 1983 by the Royal Academy of Engineering as one of the UK's 1000 most eminent engineers, and he was closely involved with the IEE. He won the IEE's Salmon Scholarship for 1939-40, was awarded a premium in 1945 for his South Midlands Students' Section paper, 'electrical technique in resistance welding', became Chairman of the North Staffordshire Sub-Centre of the IEE in 1961-62 and was Vice President of the IEE between 1980 and 1984.

The deposited papers of Thomas Calverley relate mainly to his biographical history including career summaries, important career dates, CV's, and career/award correspondence. The career correspondence covers his time with various employers including Cavendish Laboratory, English Electric and Preece Cardew & Rider and records tributes paid to Thomas when leaving a particular company or retiring. For example there is a glowing personal letter to Thomas written to him by the 2nd Baron Nelson of Stafford, Chairman of English Electric/GEC from 1962 to 1983, dating from when Thomas left the company in 1970. This material also includes articles written by Thomas, photographs, details of his Chairmanship of CIGRE Study Committee 14: DC Links, and correspondence regarding the award of the IEEE's prestigious Uno Lamm HVDC Award.

The John Calverley papers have been catalogued as collection SC MSS 248 and the Thomas Calverley papers have been catalogued as collection SC MSS 249 and can be consulted in the IET Archives once the new archive centre opens in early 2014.

Written by Jon Cable.

Edited: 06 February 2014 at 01:19 PM by Library and Archives Moderator


    Posted By: Mike Dunne @ 03 December 2013 10:13 AM     Archives  

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