R. E. B. Crompton
Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton FRS (31 May 1845 - 15 February 1940) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 electrical engineer, industrialist and inventor. He was a pioneer of electric lighting and public electricity supply systems. The company he formed, Crompton & Co., was one of the world's first large-scale manufactures of electrical equipment. He was also an early campaigner for an international standard
International standard
International standards are standards developed by international standards organizations. International standards are available for consideration and use, worldwide...

 for electrical systems. He was involved with both the practical and academic sides of his discipline, being a founder member of the International Electrotechnical Commission
International Electrotechnical Commission
The International Electrotechnical Commission is a non-profit, non-governmental international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology"...

 and twice president 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...

. He was a fellow of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 and a founder member of the Royal Automobile Club
Royal Automobile Club
The Royal Automobile Club is a private club and is not to be confused with RAC plc, a motorists' organisation, which it formerly owned.It has two club houses, one in London at 89-91 Pall Mall, and the other in the countryside at Woodcote Park, Surrey, next to the City of London Freemen's School...


Early life

Evelyn Crompton was born at Sion Hill, near Thirsk
Thirsk is a small market town and civil parish in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. The local travel links are located a mile from the town centre to Thirsk railway station and to Durham Tees Valley Airport...

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, one of five children. From an early age he was interested in machines and engineering. His autobiography tells how a trip to the Great Exhibition aged 6 had a profound impact on him:

"For me, the unforgettable part and focus of the whole exhibition was the Machinery Hall...neither Koh-I-Noor diamond, nor Osler's crystal fountain...had any attractions for me to compare with those of the locomotives, with their brilliantly polished piston rods and brasses burnished like gold."

His schooling started at Sharow, near Ripon in Yorkshire, along with 19 other boys, aged between 7 and 15. In 1856 he went to school at Elstree
Elstree School
Elstree School is an English preparatory school based in Woolhampton, near Reading in Berkshire.-1848-1938 in Elstree, Herts:As its name suggests, the school was originally founded in 1848 in Elstree, Hertfordshire, at Hill House on Elstree Hill, an 18th-century Grade II Listed Building...

, and then on to Harrow
Harrow School
Harrow School, commonly known simply as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London.. The school is of worldwide renown. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243 but the Harrow School we know today was...

 (1858–60). One of his fellow pupils there was Charles Dodgson, better known as the author Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...


Military service

But Crompton's education was interrupted by the outbreak of the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 in 1854 and he was keen to see action, despite his young age. In mid-1856, after the conclusion of the war, he travelled to the Crimea on HMS Dragon and visited his brother in what had been the front line. Thereafter, he repeatedly asserted his claim to the award of the British Crimean War Medal with the clasp for Sebastopol - but was, in fact, entitled to neither. Crompton was never enrolled in the British Navy.

After the Crimea, Crompton returned to Britain and went to Harrow School
Harrow School
Harrow School, commonly known simply as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London.. The school is of worldwide renown. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243 but the Harrow School we know today was...

. He eschewed the school's highly classical education, decided to study extra mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

. He built his own static electricity
Static electricity
Static electricity refers to the build-up of electric charge on the surface of objects. The static charges remain on an object until they either bleed off to ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge. Static electricity can be contrasted with current electricity, which can be delivered...

 generator and performed experiments with Leyden Jars. During a summer holiday, he designed and built a road-going steam tractor
Traction engine
A traction engine is a self-propelled steam engine used to move heavy loads on roads, plough ground or to provide power at a chosen location. The name derives from the Latin tractus, meaning 'drawn', since the prime function of any traction engine is to draw a load behind it...

 called Bluebell.

From Harrow Crompton obtained a placement at the Doncaster Works
Doncaster Works
Doncaster railway works is in the town of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.Always referred to as "the Plant", it was established by the Great Northern Railway in 1853, replacing the previous works in Boston and Peterborough...

 of the Great Northern Railway
Great Northern Railway (Great Britain)
The Great Northern Railway was a British railway company established by the Great Northern Railway Act of 1846. On 1 January 1923 the company lost its identity as a constituent of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway....

 where he received theortical education and practical experience in engineering. However Crompton still favoured the military life and in 1864 joined the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and served in the Rifle Brigade in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Whilst there, he witnessed the work of the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 building narrow gauge
Narrow gauge
A narrow gauge railway is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of between and .- Overview :...

 railways and developed a deep interest in steam traction. He had Bluebell shipped to him from Britain and convinced his superiors to adopt traction engines and steam lorries for transporting cargo instead of bullock
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

-drawn carts. He designed some of the military steam wagons himself.

Crompton & Co.

Crompton returned from India in 1875 and decided to pursue his interest in engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

. He became a partner
A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.Since humans are social beings, partnerships between individuals, businesses, interest-based organizations, schools, governments, and varied combinations thereof, have always been and remain commonplace...

 and manager
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

 at T.H.P. Dennis & Co., an engineering company building agricultural mills and heating plant in Chelmsford
Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately northeast of Charing Cross, London, and approximately the same distance from the once provincial Roman capital at Colchester...

. In this capacity, and as a family favour, he designed a new mechanical foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

 for an iron and steel business owned by his brother. To maximise efficiency, the mill was to run day and night, requiring the best possible lighting. Crompton designed and oversaw the installation of an arc lamp
Arc lamp
"Arc lamp" or "arc light" is the general term for a class of lamps that produce light by an electric arc . The lamp consists of two electrodes, first made from carbon but typically made today of tungsten, which are separated by a gas...

 system, even designing his own improvements to the Swiss-built
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

- Engineering :* Dynamo, a magnetic device originally used as an electric generator* Dynamo theory, a theory relating to magnetic fields of celestial bodies* Solar dynamo, the physical process that generates the Sun's magnetic field- Software :...


Crompton became convinced of the future of electric lighting, and at the same time saw several faults in the French-developed arc lights then in use. He developed his own design which gave a much brighter and steadier light than existing types. His faith in his design was such that he bought out T.H.P. Dennis and in 1878 Crompton & Co. was formed to manufacture, sell and install Crompton's lamp. His reputation quickly spread, to the extent that when Joseph Swan
Joseph Swan
Sir Joseph Wilson Swan was a British physicist and chemist, most famous for the invention of the incandescent light bulb for which he received the first patent in 1878...

 was developing his incandescent light bulb
Incandescent light bulb
The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe makes light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from air by a glass bulb that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp, a chemical process...

, he consulted Crompton over its design. Soon Crompton was building Swan's light bulb under license and the company dominated the British lighting market.

By 1881, the company's range had included to cover complete electrical systems. Crompton designed and manufactured dynamos, switchgear
The term switchgear, used in association with the electric power system, or grid, refers to the combination of electrical disconnects, fuses and/or circuit breakers used to isolate electrical equipment. Switchgear is used both to de-energize equipment to allow work to be done and to clear faults...

, circuit breakers, motors
Electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...

 and electric meters, as well as lamps. Crompton gave demonstrations of his lamps at highly public events such as the Henley Regatta and at the Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace is a building in North London, England. It stands in Alexandra Park, in an area between Hornsey, Muswell Hill and Wood Green...

. He installed lights at Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

 and King's Cross Station
King's Cross station
King's Cross station may refer to::* London King's Cross railway station in London, England** King's Cross St. Pancras tube station for London Underground lines.** King's Cross Thameslink, a disused railway station in London, England...

 as well numerous country houses, factories, tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 networks, railway yards and docks. Foreign jobs included lighting the Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera is an opera house – and opera company – with a history dating back to the mid-19th century. It is located in the centre of Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera . In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian...

, which became the world's first theatre to be lit by electricity.

In 1887 Crompton designed and installed one of the world's first public electricity supplies using a centralised power station
Power station
A power station is an industrial facility for the generation of electric energy....

. Installed on the Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, is one of the Royal Parks of London, lying immediately to the west of Hyde Park. It is shared between the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The park covers an area of 111 hectares .The open spaces...

 estate in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, 7 steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

s coupled to Crompton dynamos supplied power from an underground cavern. The success of this installation led to numerous orders for similar systems worldwide. Crompton supplied equipment throughout the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, with power stations being built as far aways as Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, which received its first Crompton lighting plant in 1887. In 1899, the company installed a generator set in a Calcutta hotel, producing India's first ever electricity supply. India became a significant market for Crompton & Co., and he appointed an agent in Calcutta to manage his business in the subcontinent. Similar subsidiaries were later founded worldwide.

Crompton was keen for electricity to be used for domestic as well as industrial purposes. He developed the world's first electric toaster
The toaster is typically a small electric kitchen appliance designed to toast multiple types of bread products. A typical modern two-slice toaster draws anywhere between 600 and 1200 W and makes toast in 1 to 3 minutes...

 and the world's first widely-sold electric oven
An oven is a thermally insulated chamber used for the heating, baking or drying of a substance. It is most commonly used for cooking. Kilns, and furnaces are special-purpose ovens...

. Crompton kept his company at the cutting edge of electrical engineering
Electrical engineering
Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

. Despite having invested heavily in promoting and installing direct current
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

 systems, following the War of Currents
War of Currents
In the "War of Currents" era in the late 1880s, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison became adversaries due to Edison's promotion of direct current for electric power distribution over alternating current advocated by several European companies and Westinghouse Electric based out of Pittsburgh,...

, Crompton quickly developed alternating current
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

 equipment as well. He also encouraged the design of new equipment for new power sources, such as dynamos specially designed for high-speed steam engines, hot bulb engine
Hot bulb engine
The hot bulb engine, or hotbulb or heavy oil engine is a type of internal combustion engine. It is an engine in which fuel is ignited by being brought into contact with a red-hot metal surface inside a bulb....

s and steam turbine
Steam turbine
A steam turbine is a mechanical device that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam, and converts it into rotary motion. Its modern manifestation was invented by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884....


Crompton kept a very 'hands on' approach to his business. In 1895 a fire broke out in a power station in London that his company had installed and that was close to his own home. He rushed to the scene and helped workers to try to contain the blaze and prevent it reaching some tanks of fuel oil
Fuel oil
Fuel oil is a fraction obtained from petroleum distillation, either as a distillate or a residue. Broadly speaking, fuel oil is any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the generation of heat or used in an engine for the generation of power, except oils having a flash...

. As the fire continued to spread, he went back to his home and helped man-handle firehoses
Fire hose
A fire hose is a high-pressure hose used to carry water or other fire retardant to a fire to extinguish it. Outdoors, it is attached either to a fire engine or a fire hydrant. Indoors, it can be permanently attached to a building's standpipe or plumbing system...

 through his front door, across his floors and out the back windows, which faced out to the rear of the power station. He continued to help fight the fire, despite receiving several electric shock
Electric shock
Electric Shock of a body with any source of electricity that causes a sufficient current through the skin, muscles or hair. Typically, the expression is used to denote an unwanted exposure to electricity, hence the effects are considered undesirable....

s and mild burns from a flooded battery
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...


At the site of the former Crompton Parkinson
Crompton Parkinson
Crompton Parkinson was a British electrical manufacturing company formed in 1927 by the merger of Crompton & Co., and F & A. Parkinson Ltd.Crompton & Co. was a lamp manufacturer founded by Colonel Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton in 1878 and had designed and installed electric lighting installations at...

 Works (later Marconi
Marconi Company
The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company...

 and E2V
e2v is a leading global provider of technology solutions for high performance systems; delivering solutions, sub-systems and components to advanced systems companies, for specialist applications within medical & science, aerospace & defence and commercial & industrial markets...

) at Writtle Road in Chelmsford, the Crompton Building still exists, although it is now used an NHS surgery, pharmacist & residential flats. The housing development that is located on part of the former works has roads named Rookes Crescent, Evelyn Place and Crompton Street. There are numerous stone plaques in the buildings which record the achievements of Crompton and others. Nearby, there is also road named Cromar Way, which derives its name from a contraction of CROmpton and MARconi.

Boer War

When the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 broke out in 1899, Crompton returned to the Army as a colonel in the Royal Engineers. He designed a range of searchlights for military use, ranging from small tripod
A tripod is a portable three-legged frame, used as a platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of some other object. The word comes from the Greek tripous, meaning "three feet". A tripod provides stability against downward forces, horizontal forces and moments about the...

-mounted types to large fixed designs using his own arc light
Arc Light
Arc Light is the debut novel by Eric L. Harry, a techno-thriller about limited nuclear war published in 1994 and written in 1991-2.As China and Russia clash in Siberia in June 1999, nuclear missiles strike the United States. The U.S. retaliates against Russia, and World War III begins...



After the war, Crompton became concerned by the large range of different standards and systems used by electrical engineering companies and scientists. Many companies had entered the market in the 1890s and all chose their own settings for volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

age, frequency
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency.The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency...

, current
Electric current
Electric current is a flow of electric charge through a medium.This charge is typically carried by moving electrons in a conductor such as wire...

 and even the symbols used on circuit diagrams. Adjacent buildings would have totally incompatible electrical systems simply because they had been fitted out by different companies. Crompton could see the lack of efficiency in this system and began to consider proposals for an international standard for electric engineering.

In 1904, Crompton represented Britain at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
Louisiana Purchase Exposition
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, informally known as the Saint Louis World's Fair, was an international exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri, United States in 1904.- Background :...

 in Saint Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 as part of a delegation by the Institute of Electrical Engineers. He presented a paper on standardisation, which was so well received that he was asked to look into the formation of a commission to oversea the process. He said he saw "great difficulty" in the project, but began work.

By 1906 his work was complete and he drew up a permanent constitution for the International Electrotechnical Commission, which held its first meeting that year in London, with representatives from 14 countries.

The IEC's work was interrupted by the Great War. During this conflict, Crompton was asked by the Landships Committee
Landships Committee
The Landships Committee was a small British war cabinet committee established in February 1915 to deal with the design and construction of what would turn out to be tanks during the First World War...

 to submit designs for a 'Land Ship' that could cross enemy trenches and barbed wire
Barbed wire
Barbed wire, also known as barb wire , is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand. It is used to construct inexpensive fences and is used atop walls surrounding secured property...

 whilst protecting its occupants from bullets. His design formed the basis of the first practical tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s. The Commission reconvened in 1919 in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

. Although Germany was not officially invited to send delegates, an unofficial representation was sent, and Crompton insisted on greeting them, despite unease from other members. He expressed "great satisfaction that our peacemaking efforts were successful".

In 1926 Crompton was awarded the Faraday Medal
Faraday Medal
The Faraday Medal is a medal awarded by the Institution of Electrical Engineers The bronze medal is awarded without restriction as regards nationality, country of...

 for his work, and two years later work began on Britain's National Grid.

Later life

Whilst Crompton & Co. was one of Britain's largest electrical equipment manufacturers, the emergence of global conglomerates in the 1920s such as General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

, Siemens
Siemens AG
Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

 and Metropolitan-Vickers
Metropolitan-Vickers, Metrovick, or Metrovicks, was a British heavy electrical engineering company of the early-to-mid 20th century formerly known as British Westinghouse. Highly diversified, they were particularly well known for their industrial electrical equipment such as generators, steam...

 meant that Crompton's was beginning to lose ground. In 1929, in a move that greatly surprised the industry, Crompton & Co. merged with its rival F. Parkinson Ltd. to form Crompton-Parkinson
Crompton Parkinson
Crompton Parkinson was a British electrical manufacturing company formed in 1927 by the merger of Crompton & Co., and F & A. Parkinson Ltd.Crompton & Co. was a lamp manufacturer founded by Colonel Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton in 1878 and had designed and installed electric lighting installations at...


After conducting the merger, Crompton retired, leaving the company in the hands of Frank Parkinson
Frank Parkinson
Frank Parkinson was a British electrical engineer, most notable for early electric lighting installations, such as light bulbs and electric motors...

. He moved from his London home to a house in his native Yorkshire in 1939. The house had no electricity, but his former company installed a generating plant free of charge.

Colonel Crompton died in February 1940, aged 95.

Other Interests

As well as his professional and private interests in engineering and electricity, Crompton was a keen cyclist
Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, or for sport. Persons engaged in cycling are cyclists or bicyclists...

. He bought his first bicycle in the 1890s. Inevitably he modified and adapted the vehicle, changing the wheel diameter and pedal cranks. He claimed to be able to cycle 200 miles (320 km) without getting tired. As one would expect of a devotee of all things mechanical, he was an early motorist and a founder member of the Royal Automobile Club and president of the Institute Automotive Engineers.

Starting at his time at Harrow
Harrow School
Harrow School, commonly known simply as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London.. The school is of worldwide renown. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243 but the Harrow School we know today was...

, he was a keen squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

 player. His dedication to standardisation even extended into this field. He conducted a series of experiments to compare the degree of bounce between the various makes of ball on sale.

Crompton's Companies

Crompton-Parkinson itself became part of the Hawker Siddeley Group in 1968. That group was broken up in stages during the 1980s, and several unrelated companies, all directly descended from Crompton & Co. through an often-complex series of mergers, break-ups and buy-outs, using the Crompton name:
  • Crompton Lighting- One of the oldest lighting manufacturers, this company is still based in Britain, with manufacturing in Doncaster
    Doncaster is a town in South Yorkshire, England, and the principal settlement of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster. The town is about from Sheffield and is popularly referred to as "Donny"...

    , Yorkshire
    Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

     and head offices in Waltham Abbey, Essex
    Waltham Abbey, Essex
    Waltham Abbey is a market town of about 20,400 people in the south west of the county of Essex, in the East of England region. It is about 24 km north of London on the Greenwich Meridian and lies between the River Lea in the west and Epping Forest in the east. It takes its name from The Abbey...

    . The company is now part of the American company Cooper Industries
    Cooper Industries
    Cooper Industries is a former US-based company that in 2009 switched its incorporation office from Bermuda to Ireland, maintaining its chief operational offices in Houston, Texas. It produces transformers, tools and electrical equipment, employing 29,000 staff around the world. Revenue in 2007 was...

    . The Crompton name is still widely used on a range of products. A totally separate company using the same name operates in Australia, and is descended from Crompton & Co's Australian subsidiary.
  • Brook Crompton- a manufacturer of electric motors with facilities in 5 countries, headquartered in Huddersfield
    Huddersfield is a large market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, England, situated halfway between Leeds and Manchester. It lies north of London, and south of Bradford, the nearest city....

    , Yorkshire. It is owned by the Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

    -based Lindeteves-Jacoberg Limited
    Lindeteves-Jacoberg Limited
    Lindeteves-Jacoberg Limited , based in Singapore, is an investment holding company which provides management services to its subsidiaries....

  • Crompton Controls- based in Wakefield
    Wakefield is the main settlement and administrative centre of the City of Wakefield, a metropolitan district of West Yorkshire, England. Located by the River Calder on the eastern edge of the Pennines, the urban area is and had a population of 76,886 in 2001....

    , Yorkshire. The company is in private hands and manufactures switchgear, relay
    A relay is an electrically operated switch. Many relays use an electromagnet to operate a switching mechanism mechanically, but other operating principles are also used. Relays are used where it is necessary to control a circuit by a low-power signal , or where several circuits must be controlled...

    s, solenoid
    A solenoid is a coil wound into a tightly packed helix. In physics, the term solenoid refers to a long, thin loop of wire, often wrapped around a metallic core, which produces a magnetic field when an electric current is passed through it. Solenoids are important because they can create...

    s and other electrical components.
  • Crompton Instruments- Part of Tyco International
    Tyco International
    Tyco International Ltd. is a highly diversified global manufacturing company incorporated in Switzerland, with United States operational headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey...

     since 2002, this company manufactures mechanical and electronic electrical meters and related measuring equipment.
  • Crompton Greaves- the modern descendant of Crompton & Co.'s Indian operations, headquartered in Mumbai
    Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

    . Like its original parent company, this is a wide-ranging manufacturer building switchgear, motors, generators, transformer
    A transformer is a device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another through inductively coupled conductors—the transformer's coils. A varying current in the first or primary winding creates a varying magnetic flux in the transformer's core and thus a varying magnetic field...

    s and meters. The company is engaged in the electrification
    Electrification originally referred to the build out of the electrical generating and distribution systems which occurred in the United States, England and other countries from the mid 1880's until around 1940 and is in progress in developing countries. This also included the change over from line...

     program for Indian Railways
    Indian Railways
    Indian Railways , abbreviated as IR , is a departmental undertaking of Government of India, which owns and operates most of India's rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India....

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