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.A SURRY WONDER

BARMOUTH

[No title]

CRICCLTH COUNCIL.

BREACH OF PROMISE CASE

-..-.-PORTHMADOC

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MR WILLIAM HENRY PREECF. C,8,…

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MR WILLIAM HENRY PREECF. C,8, F.R.S. This-week we take from the current issue of "Answers" the following sketch cf another Carnarvonite, Mr W. H. Preece, Penrhos: HE GAVE US THE TELEPHONE. THE PHONOGRAPH, AND THE ELECTRIC BELL. When the telephone was first getting into work the Queen was anxious to test its powers, and accordingly arrangements were made to put Osborne, Portsmouth, and Lon- don in telephonic communication with one another. With this in view, it was arranged that a band should play in London at nine o'clock, so that Her Majesty might hear the music. Some slight mishap occurred to fhe Osborne section of the wire, and the Queen's coming was delayed. The musicians, after playing some time, were dismissed. Shortly after, great consternation was caused by the receipt of a wire from Osborne, stating that Ti: HAD ARRIVED, and was ready to hear the music. What was to be done? The band had departed, and there was no way of getting another! On a hasty impulse, the gentleman in charge decided to see what he could do in the way of a band, and hummed "God Save the Queen" through the telephone. Then he inquired. if her Majesty had recognised the tune. "Yes," was the reply; "it was the National Anthem, but very bad:y slaved." The "band" which played so badly on that occasion was Mr W. H. Preece, C.B., the Chief Engineer and Electrician to Her Majesty's Post Office. Not content with such a record, Mr Preece has won success and dis- tinction in many directions. The place which he occupies in the estimation of his fel'ow- engineers is shown by the fact that they have elected him as President of the Institution of Civil Engineers. So Mr Preece will enjoy the double distinction of being the first. Civil servant and the first electrical engineer who has received this high honour. But the hon- our is well deserved. Mr Preece has further the peculiar dis- tinction of having introduced three of the most useful of modern inventions into Eng- land-the telephone, the phonograph, and the electric bell. Further, he was one of the very first-Lord Armstrong being the first- to introduce the electric light into his own house. The electric bell had its home in France, where Mr Preece saw it at the house of the famous optician Bre-net. In England the first tinkle of the electric bell was heard in 1867, in the house of Sir Francis Truscott, where it wasiPut up by Mr Preece himself. Mr Preece was also the chief apostle of the block system, to the general adoption of which we owe the comparatively safety cf our railway travelling. But perhaps his most useful work was the introduction cf "duplex telegraphy" in 1855. On all subjects electrical Mr Preece is the first authority, and his book on telegraphy is far and away the best and' mcst compre- hensive. He has done more than any man living to bring the engineering department of the Postal Telepraph Service to its pre- sent state cf efficiency, and has charge of the erection anI maintenance of all the Govern- ment telegraphs and telephones of the United Kingdom, and ALL THE SUBMARINE CABLES controlled or owned by this country. What this means may be realised when the figures are given. Of cables there are 2643 miles, 2 containing 9354i miles of wire; while of tele- 2 graphs there are no less than 38,749f miles, 4 containing 270,581 miles of wire, which last year had 79,423,556 messages flashed through them. The telegraphic staff numbers no less than 5369. From this exacting work Mr Preece is doomed to retire next year owing to the age limit, and it will be difficult to fill his place with one who knows the whole sys- tem from its inception. The extraordinary development, of tele- graphy in Mr Preece's time is shown by the fact Jth at. when he first entered the Post I Office the number of words transmitted was onlv 120 a minute. Now, no less than 600 words a minute can be sent between London and Birmingham; 450 between London and Dublin; while 120 a minute can be sent as far as Rome! Mr Preece says that his life has been a ouiet one; yet few men's deeds have done more to bring about revolutions. Electri- city has done more to revolutionise the world than anything else, and Mr Preece is its chief priest. He was born among the Welsh hills —at Carnarvon, in 1834. At eleven it was his good fortune to be TAKEN BY THE FAMILY DOCTOR to hear the great scientist Faraday at the Royal Institution. So Kntereste)] was he that he begged to be taken to all the other lectures of the course, and from 1846 to 1853 he heard all those famous lectures. He little thought when he heard the first lecture that he would one day be Faraday's assistant. But it came about. Mr Preece was first intended fcr the Army. But his father's death rendered it necessary for him to earn his living. He was educated at King's College, and entered the office of Mr E. Clarke, chiefly known as the engineer of the Britannia Tube across the Menai Straits. When Mr Clarke became engineer to the Electrical Te'egrapli Companv. Mr Preece became greatly interested in electri- city. He was engaged in laying down scme underground wires between Liverpool and Manchester, and in the operations some re- markable scientific facts- were developed. Faraday and the Astronomer Royal were called on to investigate them, and Mr Preece was attached! to them in the conduct of the ensuing experiments. At twenty Mr Preece had charge cf the southern district of the Electric Telegraph Company; then he became superintendent of one district of the South-Western Railway's telegraphs, and finally, when the existing telegraph lines became the property of the State, Mr Preece became a. Civil servant. First he was a divisional engineer. In 1877 he was appointed chief electrician, and in 1892 engineer-in-chief and electrician. His faithful and valuable services have been re- warded by a C.B., conveyed in 1894 in an autograph letter by the G.O.M., who wrote it ( ON HIS BOth BIRTHDAY. Mr Preece has in his office at the G.P.O. a most interesting little case, which summar- ises in a vivid way that great advance which electrical science has made during the Queen's reign. First of all there is a piece cf fossil telegraph, which was laid in. 1837 on what was then calkd the London ard Fir- mingham Railway, between Euston and Cam- niingham Railway, between Euston and Cam- den. The wires are inserted in a thick block cf wood. By the side of this block is the beautiful little ivorv tnob which the Queen touched when she sent her Jubilee message I round the world, and the silk-ccvered wires which were attached to the handle. But the most interesting feature about this incident was that the current which the Queen started when she pressed the knob passed' through the eld postal to^graph. which w -s bid in ILR37-tl,e first that was laid. Mr Prem? bed the wires fastened to each end cf it, and in that wrv made the years 1837 and 1897 to icin in ^\r>TVG THE QUEEN'S MESSAGE to the ends of the world. Mr Preece tells a curious story about the telephone, which somewhat like that told about the Queen and the National Anthem. The very first i-etiire, he gave on the tele- phone was at the Royal Institution in May, 1878. By way of experiment and illustra- ti"ll, he arranged a circuit to Southampton, f Tfli W&h. I

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--WELSH EDUCATION AT Tfli…

MR WILLIAM HENRY PREECF. C,8,…