Gregory, Sir Charles Hutton

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b. 14 October 1817 Woolwich, England
d. 10 January 1898 London, England
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English civil engineer, inventor of the railway semaphore signal.
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Gregory's father was Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.C.H. Gregory himself, after working for Robert Stephenson, was appointed Engineer to the London \& Croydon Railway in 1839. On it, at New Cross in 1841, he installed a semaphore signal derived from signalling apparatus used by the Royal Navy; two hinged semaphore arms projected either side from the top of a post, signalling to drivers of trains in each direction of travel. In horizontal position each arm signified "danger", an arm inclined at 45° meant "caution" and the vertical position, in which the arms disappeared within a slot in the post, meant "all right". Gregory's signal was the forerunner of semaphore signals adopted on railways worldwide. In 1843 Gregory invented the stirrup frame: signal arms were connected to stirrups that were pushed down by the signalman's foot in order to operate them, while the points were operated by levers. The stirrups were connected together to prevent conflicting signals from being shown. This was a predecessor of interlocking. In 1846 Gregory became Engineer to the Bristol \& Exeter Railway, where in 1848 he co-operated with W.B. Adams in the development and operation of the first self-propelled railcar. He later did civil engineering work in Italy and France, was Engineer to the Somerset Central and Dorset Central railways and became Consulting Engineer for the government railways in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Cape of Good Hope, Straits Settlements and Trinidad.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George 1876. Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George 1883. President, Institution of Civil Engineers 1867– 8.
Bibliography
1841, Practical Rules for the Management of a Locomotive Engine, London (one of the earliest such textbooks).
Further Reading
Obituary, 1898, Engineering 65 (14 January). See also Saxby, John.
PJGR

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

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