Frederick Albert Winsor

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Frederick Albert Winsor.

Frederick Albert Winsor, originally Friedrich Albrecht Winzer (1763, Braunschweig, Germany – May 11, 1830, Paris) was a German inventor, one of the pioneers of gas lighting in the UK and France.

Winsor went to Britain before 1799 and became interested in the technology and economics of fuels. In 1802 he went to Paris to investigate the 'thermo-lamp' which French engineer Philippe Lebon had patented in 1799. Returning to Britain, he started a gasworks and in 1807 lit one side of Pall Mall, London, with gas lamps. In 1804-09 he was granted various patents for gas furnaces and purifiers. His application to Parliament for a charter for the Gas Light and Coke Company having failed, Winsor once more moved to France, but in Paris his company made little progress and was liquidated in 1819. The distilling retort Winsor used consisted of an iron pot with a fitted lid. The lid had a pipe in the centre leading to the conical condensing vessel, which was compartmented inside with perforated divisions to spread the gas to purify it of hydrogen sulphide and ammonia. The device was not very successful, and the gas being burned was impure and emitted a pungent smell. Winsor published Description of the Thermo-lamp Invented by Lebon of Paris in 1802, Analogy between Animal and Vegetable Life, Demonstrating the Beneficial Application of the Patent Light Stoves to all Green and Hot Houses in 1807, and other works.

He died in Paris and was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. A green plaque on Pall Mall in London marks the site of Winsor's first demonstration, and there is a memorial to him in Kensal Green cemetery. Winsor Terrace in Beckton, the former approach road to Beckton Gas Works, is named in his honour.

References[edit]

  • Trevor I. Williams, ‘Winsor, Frederick Albert (1763–1830)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, first published Sept 2004