Obituary of Samuel Phillips

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Electrical Engineer - London

London, England
vol. 12, no. 4, p. 85, col. 1-2




It is with deep regret we hare to record the death of Mr. Samuel Edmund Phillips, which occurred somewhat suddenly at his residence at Shooter's Hill, Kent, on Saturday last. He had been in failing health for some years, and suffered greatly from an internal complaint which proved to be caused by an ulcer.

Mr. Phillips, when a boy, was brought into contact with telegraphy, his father being at that time engaged with Dr. Whitehouse in carrying out experimental work in connection with the first Atlantic cable. He subsequently accompanied his father in the first Malta and Alexandria cable expedition, and in 1863 he became a member of the staff which Colonel Patrick Stewart formed to go out with the Persian Gulf cable, remaining at Bushire as a junior clerk. At the end of three years' service he returned to England, and obtained an appointment on the electrical staff of Messrs. Latimer Clark, Forde, and Co., leaving these gentlemen to become electrician to Mr. W. T. Henley, in whose service he remained for 10 years. At Mr. Henley's works he was appointed manager of the cable department, and occasionally he accompanied cable expeditions as head of the electrical department. In 1875 he joined Mr. W. Claude Johnson in partnership, and a small works was established at Charlton. This formed the nucleus of the present extensive range of factories which are so well known to all connected with the electrical industry throughout the world.

As an inventor Mr. Phillips has given us the oil insulator, which has not only been largely adopted for telegraph lines in India, Egypt, and other countries, but has proved of immense value for overhead lines for electric lighting and the transmission of power in all quarters of the globe.

Mr. Phillips took the keenest interest in scientific matters generally, and to his good judgment and sound common sense may be attributed in a great measure the success of his undertakings. His genial manner and generous nature made him a universal favourite, and his loss will be deplored by a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances. It is not customary even in deploring the loss of an old and valued friend to abstain from the impersonal, yet we cannot help saying that the late Mr. Phillips was one of those quiet, unobtrusive men to whom England owes so much. He, in common with his surviving partner, was imbued with the view that it is necessary for a firm's success to have a reputation for thoroughness, and together they built up a reputation for the firm's work that gives it a foremost place among our manufacturers.


Keywords:Johnson & Phillips
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Elton Gish
Date completed:January 18, 2008 by: Elton Gish;