William Ranson Cooper, MA, BSc, was born in Hampstead in 1868.
After graduating as Master of Arts in Mathematical Science in 1890 from the Royal University of Ireland, he studied for three years at the Central Technical College where he gained a works premium. He then went to the Richmond Electricity Supply Station and to Messrs. Latimer, Clark, Muirhead and Co., who, at that time, were manufacturing dynamos and other electrical plants. From there he went to Kings College where he took his BSc, London in physics and chemistry.
In 1895, the year he was elected an Associate of the IEE, he joined with Mr G. H. Baillie as an assistant to Mr James Swinburne (who was to become the Honorary Editor of Science Abstracts in 1898 with Mr Cooper as Sub-Editor). During this partnership, he became Editor of 'The Electrician' which gradually absorbed all his time. This caused the partnership to be dissolved but not the friendship.
In 1899, he became an Associate Member of the IEE. He was secretary and director of the Damard Lacquer Company whose success was largely due to his strenuous work in its development. He wrote a number of technical books and also revised W. G. McMillan's Electro-Metallurgy and contributed papers to scientific societies and the technical press.
In 1902, he was awarded a Telford Premium by the Institution of Civil Engineers for his paper on 'Electric Traction'. He served on the Council of the IEE from 1900-1903 (when he became an IEE Member) and of the Faraday Society. He also served as a Vice-President and Honorary Secretary of the Physical Society.
He died on 15th March 1926.