Grimthorpe (of Grimthorpe), Edmund Beckett, Baron

SUBJECT AREA: Horology
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b. 12 May 1816 Newark, Nottinghamshire, England
d. 29 April 1905 St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
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English lawyer and amateur horologist who was the first successfully to apply the gravity escapement to public clocks.
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Born Edmund Beckett Denison, he was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied mathematics, graduating in 1838. He was called to the Bar in 1841 and became a Queen's Counsel in 1854. He built up a large and lucrative practice which gave him the independence to pursue his many interests outside law. His interest in horology may have been stimulated by a friend and fellow lawyer, J.M. Bloxham, who interestingly had invented a gravity escapement with an affinity to the escapement eventually used by Denison. Denison studied horology with his usual thoroughness and by 1850 he had published his Rudimentary Treatise on Clock and Watchmaking. It was natural, therefore, that he should have been invited to be a referee when a disagreement arose over the design of the clock for the new Houses of Parliament. Typically, he interpreted his brief very liberally and designed the clock himself. The most distinctive feature of the clock, in its final form, was the incorporation of a gravity escapement. A gravity escapement was particularly desirable in a public clock as it enabled the pendulum to receive a constant impulse (and thus swing with a constant amplitude), despite the variable forces that might be exerted by the wind on the exposed hands. The excellent performance of the prestigious clock at Westminster made Denison's form of gravity escapement de rigueur for large mechanical public clocks produced in Britain and in many other countries. In 1874 he inherited his father's baronetcy, dropping the Denison name, but later adopted the name Grimthorpe when he was created a Baron in 1886.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Peerage 1886. President, British Horological Institute 1868–1905.
Bibliography
His highly idiosyncratic A Rudimentary Treatise on Clocks and Watchmaking first published in 1850, went through eight editions, with slight changes of title, and became the most influential work in English on the subject of public clocks.
Further Reading
Vaudrey Mercer, 1977, The Life and Letters of Edward John Dent, London, pp. 650–1 (provides biographical information relating to horology; also contains a reliable account of Denison's involvement with the clock at Westminster).
A.L.Rawlings, 1948, The Science of Clocks and Watcher, repub. 1974, pp. 98–102 (provides a technical assessment of Denison's escapement).
DV

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Grimthorpe, Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron — ▪ British horologist in full  Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe of Grimthorpe , also called (until 1874)  Edmund Beckett Denison  or  Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet  born May 12, 1816, Carlton Hall, near Newark upon Trent, Nottinghamshire,… …   Universalium

  • Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe — Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe, Q.C. (12 May, 1816 – 29 April, 1905), known previously as Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet and Edmund Beckett Denison was a lawyer, amateur horologist, and architect. In 1851 he designed the mechanism for the… …   Wikipedia

  • Edmund Beckett Denison — may refer to: *Sir Edmund Beckett, 4th Baronet (1787 1874), who was known by this name 1816 1872 *Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe (1816 1905), son of the above, earlier known as Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet, lawyer and architect …   Wikipedia

  • Edmund Beckett — may refer to:*Edmund Beckett Denison *Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe (1816 – 1905) lawyer *Sir Edmund Beckett, 4th Baronet (1787 – 1874), Conservative MP …   Wikipedia

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  • Beckett, Sir Edmund — See: Grimthorpe, Edmund Beckett, Baron …   Biographical history of technology

  • Baron Grimthorpe — Baron Grimthorpe, of Grimthorpe in the East Riding of the County of York, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1886 for the lawyer and architect Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet, of Leeds, with remainder to the heirs… …   Wikipedia

  • Beckett — may refer to: NOTOC People * Arthur William à Beckett (1844–1909), English journalist and man of letters * Christopher Beckett, 4th Baron Grimthorpe (1915–2003) * Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe (1816–1905) * Sir Edmund Beckett, 4th Baronet… …   Wikipedia

  • grimthorpe — ˈgrim(p)ˌthȯ(ə)rp transitive verb ( ed/ ing/ s) Etymology: after Sir Edmund Beckett, first Baron Grimthorpe died 1905 English lawyer and architect whose restoration of St. Albans cathedral in England was severely criticized : to remodel (an… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ernest Beckett, 2nd Baron Grimthorpe — Ernest William Beckett, 2nd Baron Grimthorpe (25 November 1856 ndash; 29 April 1917), was a British peer and Conservative Member of Parliament.Grimthorpe was the eldest son of William Beckett, younger son of Sir Edmund Beckett, 4th Baronet.… …   Wikipedia

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