The New International Encyclopædia/Siemens, William
|←Siemens, Ernst Werner von||The New International Encyclopædia
|Edition of 1905. See also Carl Wilhelm Siemens on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
SIEMENS, Sir William (Karl Wilhelm) (1823-83). An English engineer and metallurgist. He was born at Lenthe, Hanover, and was a brother of Werner Siemens (see above), with whom he was associated in many scientific investigations and commercial enterprises. He was educated at Magdeburg and Göttingen and then entered a manufacturing establishment in the former town. He visited England in 1843 to introduce his brother's process of electro-plating, and again in 1844, when he endeavored to dispose of the English rights of a chronometric governor for steam engines and the anastatic process of printing. Settling in England, but maintaining close connection with his brother, he devoted himself to perfecting a regenerative steam engine, but was not altogether successful, and turned his attention to a water meter, which soon came into extensive use. His next and most important invention was the regenerative furnace, which he applied to iron and steel working, and to which from time to time he added important improvements. (See Iron and Steel.) He was interested with his brother in various electrical enterprises and conducted the British branch of the business, which in 1874 laid the direct Atlantic cable from the ship Faraday, a vessel specially designed by him for that purpose. Sir William played an important part in the application of electricity to lighting and traction in England. Besides his many useful inventions, among which were a pyrometer and the bathometer (q.v.), apparatus for producing low temperatures (see Refrigeration), he also carried on important investigations in pure science. In 1859 he became a British subject, and in 1883 he was knighted. He received many honors, including the Bessemer medal of the Iron and Steel Institute of Great Britain, the French Legion of Honor, and honorary degrees from the universities of Oxford, Dublin, and Glasgow. He was president of the Society of Telegraph Engineers, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Iron and Steel Institute, and the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in addition to being a member of many other British and foreign societies. A laboratory of electrical engineering was constructed by his widow at King's College, London, as a memorial. His collected works were published in 1889. Consult Pole, Life of William Siemens (London, 1889).