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Saturday
May242014

Edwin T. Cottingham at the Science Museum

Edwin Turner Cottingham at the Science Museum

In the first book of Ringstead People we told of the life of Edwin Cottingham. He had been born in Ringstead but moved to Thrapston and took over a Clock and Watch shop. He seems to have been self-taught in his new skills but became a widely respected scientific instrument maker. He worked at Cambridge University on their clocks and was on an expedition to measure the timing of the transit of Venus across the sun, hoping to prove Einstein's Theory of Relativity.   Edwin provided the timing device.

Wandering through the London Science Museum recently I idly looked at a row of wall clocks and there was one made by E. T. Cottingham of Thrapston which he had donated to the museum. The caption read:

Reifler regulator designed by E T Cottingham.

The pendulum of this astronomical clock swings in a container at low pressure to reduce drag. It was exhibited at the first British Empire Exhibition in 1824 -5. The escapement design was patented by Reifler of Mucich in 1889

Source: Mr E. T. Cottingham

Inv. No. 1940 - 15 pt 1

 

 

 

So Thrapston (and Ringstead) has somone who made an object which is in one of the great mueums of the world. If you visit the Science Museum see if you can find this piece of the local history. 

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