Obituary of Cromwell Varley

[Trade Journal]

Publication: Journal of the Society of Arts

London, England
vol. 32, no. 1607, p. 936, col. 2


CROMWELL VARLEY, F.R.S.—Mr. Varley, the eminent electrician, who died on Sunday, the ad instant, at his house at Bexley-heath, had been for many years a member of the Society of Arts. Be was a frequent attendant at the meetings of the Society, and one of the latest occasions in which he joined in the discussion was in April, 1881, when Mr. Preece's paper on "Recent Advances in Electric Lighting" was read. Cromwell Fleetwood Varley— whose two Christian names indicate his descent from Cromwell, through the Protector's son-in-law, General Fleetwood—was the son of Cornelius Varley, the great water-colour artist. He was born at Kentishtown on April 6, 1828, and in his youth was famous for his skill in swimming. He devoted himself to the engineering branch of telegraphy, and became chief engineer and electrician to the Electric and International Telegraph Company, an office which be held until the taking over of the telegraphs by the Government. He was associated with Robert Stephenson, Sir William Fairbairn, and others in devising the successful Atlantic cable; and his inventions and improvements in telegraphy and other departments of electricity were very numerous. One of the earliest of these was an apparatus for transmitting electrical signals, which so much increased the sensitiveness and trustworthiness of the relay, that it became practicable for the first time to work from London to Edinburgh direct —a proceeding impossible in the conditions of insulation previously existing. Mr. Varley was elected a member of the Society of Arts in 1859 and he obtained the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1871.


Keywords:Cromwell Fleetwood Varley
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information:Article: 12513
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:June 12, 2011 by: Elton Gish;