Crompton, Rookes Evelyn Bell

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b. 31 May 1845 near Thirsk, Yorkshire, England
d. 15 February 1940 Azerley Chase, Ripon, Yorkshire, England
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English electrical and transport engineer.
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Crompton was the youngest son of a widely travelled diplomat who had retired to the country and become a Whig MP after the Reform Act of 1832. During the Crimean War Crompton's father was in Gibraltar as a commander in the militia. Young Crompton enrolled as a cadet and sailed to Sebastopol, visiting an older brother, and, although only 11 years old, he qualified for the Crimean Medal. Returning to England, he was sent to Harrow, where he showed an aptitude for engineering. In the holidays he made a steam road engine on his father's estate. On leaving school he was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade and spent four years in India, where he worked on a system of steam road haulage to replace bullock trains. Leaving the Army in 1875, Crompton bought a share in an agricultural and general engineering business in Chelmsford, intending to develop his interests in transport. He became involved in the newly developing technology of electric arc lighting and began importing electric lighting equipment made by Gramme in Paris. Crompton soon decided that he could manufacture better equipment himself, and the Chemlsford business was transformed into Crompton \& Co., electrical engineers. After lighting a number of markets and railway stations, Crompton won contracts for lighting the new Law Courts in London, in 1882, and the Ring Theatre in Vienna in 1883. Crompton's interests then broadened to include domestic electrical appliances, especially heating and cooking apparatus, which provided a daytime load when lighting was not required. In 1899 he went to South Africa with the Electrical Engineers Volunteer Corps, providing telegraphs and searchlights in the Boer War. He was appointed Engineer to the new Road Board in 1910, and during the First World War worked for the Government on engineering problems associated with munitions and tanks. He believed strongly in the value of engineering standards, and in 1906 became the first Secretary of the International Electrotechnical Commission.
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Bibliography
1928, Reminiscences.
Further Reading
B.Bowers, 1969, R.E.B.Crompton. Pioneer Electrical Engineer, London: Science Museum.
BB

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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