Alexander Muirhead
Alexander Muirhead, FRS, (1848–1920) born in East Saltoun
East Saltoun and West Saltoun
East Saltoun and West Saltoun are separate villages in East Lothian, Scotland, about 5 miles south-west of Haddington and 20 miles east of Edinburgh.- Geography :...

, East Lothian
East Lothian
East Lothian is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, and a lieutenancy Area. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Midlothian. Its administrative centre is Haddington, although its largest town is Musselburgh....

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 was an electrical engineer specialising in wireless telegraphy
Wireless telegraphy
Wireless telegraphy is a historical term used today to apply to early radio telegraph communications techniques and practices, particularly those used during the first three decades of radio before the term radio came into use....



Muirhead studied for his Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 at University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

 and then DSc
-in academia:* D.Sc., Doctor of Science* Doctor of Surgical Chiropody, superseded in the 1960s by Doctor of Podiatric Medicine* Dalton State College, Georgia* Daytona State College, Florida* Deep Springs College, California* Dixie State College of Utah...

 (in electricity) at St Bartholomew's Hospital
St Bartholomew's Hospital
St Bartholomew's Hospital, also known as Barts, is a hospital in Smithfield in the City of London, England.-Early history:It was founded in 1123 by Raherus or Rahere , a favourite courtier of King Henry I...

 1869-1872 where he is credited with recording the first human electrocardiogram
Electrocardiography is a transthoracic interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time, as detected by electrodes attached to the outer surface of the skin and recorded by a device external to the body...

. He was scientific adviser to his father's company, Latimer Clark, Muirhead & Co., designing precision instruments, and with H A Taylor patented a method of duplexing
Duplex (telecommunications)
A duplex communication system is a system composed of two connected parties or devices that can communicate with one another in both directions. The term multiplexing is used when describing communication between more than two parties or devices....

 telegraph signals for use in submarine cables
Submarine communications cable
A submarine communications cable is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean....

. He later worked with Sir Oliver Lodge on the development of wireless telegraphy, selling their important tuning patents to Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

 in 1904. He became a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers
Institution of Electrical Engineers
The Institution of Electrical Engineers was a British professional organisation of electronics, electrical, manufacturing, and Information Technology professionals, especially electrical engineers. The I.E.E...

 in 1877, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1904. He died at Shortlands
Shortlands is a ward of the London Borough of Bromley, located less than a mile from Bromley town centre. Historically, Shortlands was known as Clay Hill. It became known as Shortlands around 1800, after the fields which, at this point of the Ravensbourne river, ran at right angles up the slopes...

, Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, on 13 December 1920 and is buried at West Norwood Cemetery
West Norwood Cemetery
West Norwood Cemetery is a cemetery in West Norwood in London, England. It was also known as the South Metropolitan Cemetery.One of the first private landscaped cemeteries in London, it is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries of London, and is a site of major historical, architectural and...


External links

  • Ronald Birse, rev. Patricia Knowlden Alexander Muirhead Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Subscription required)
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