Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Singer, George John

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SINGER, GEORGE JOHN (1786–1817), electrician, son of Thomas Singer, and younger brother of Samuel Weller Singer [q. v.], was born in 1786. In early life he was engaged in his mother's business of artificial-flower making. Every spare moment, however, he devoted to scientific study, more particularly to the investigation of electricity and electro-magnetism, then little known. He made almost the whole of his apparatus himself, and introduced several improvements, inventing, among other things, the gold-leaf electro-meter. He built, almost unassisted, a large room at the back of his mother's house in Prince's Street, Cavendish Square, where he gave courses of lectures on electricity and kindred subjects. Among his auditors were Faraday and Sir Francis Ronalds [q. v.] He died, unmarried, of consumption, induced by overwork, on 28 June 1817, at his mother's house. He published ‘Elements of Electricity and Electro-chemistry,’ London, 1814, 8vo, a work of considerable importance, which was translated into French (Paris, 1817), into Italian (Milan, 1819), and into German (Breslau, 1819). He also contributed several papers to the ‘Philosophical Magazine’ from 1813 to 1815, of which a list is given in Ronalds's ‘Catalogue of Books on Electricity, Magnetism,’ &c.

[Private information; Gent. Mag. 1817, i. 641.]

E. I. C.