Edward Lyon Berthon, English inventor

Edward Lyon Berthon, English inventor

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Edward Lyon Berthon (1813-1899), English inventor and astronomer. Although initially trained in medicine, Berthon was ordained as a clergyman in 1845. During his time at university, he developed a screw propeller and a log for ships, both rejected by the British Admiralty. He continued his experiments after his ordination, eventually perfecting a folding lifeboat which could be stowed on a vessel for use in an emergency. He succeeded in selling this invention to the admiralty. Shortly afterwards he moved from Fareham to Romsey, also in Hampshire, UK, where he designed and built observatories. The observatory shown, with its equatorial reflector telescope, was to be sent to a gentleman in Johannesburg who had purchased it for £45. This photograph was taken in 1899.

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