We still eagerly embrace technology, just as
we did in Thomas Parker’s time, and life would be very different
without it. In his day, engineers were respected and often
became public figures, which is fitting, considering the way
technology improved people’s lives. Today in the U.K.,
engineering is no longer fashionable, and engineers are looked
down on. We tend to forget how much we rely on engineering, and
how much poorer we would be without it.
Every time you get in your car and start the
engine, think of Thomas Parker. Although he didn’t invent the
car battery (accumulator), he greatly improved it, so that it
can hold a much larger charge, enabling a small-sized battery to
power the starter motor. In fact Thomas was probably
Wolverhampton's first motorist. He claimed to have built an
electrically powered car as early as 1884, and before the decade
was over he was travelling daily to and from work in his cars.
I would like to thank Peter Parker and Gail Tudor for all of
their help and access to the family archives, Margaret and
Maurice Darlington, who run the Ironbridge George Community
Archive, Rodney Benjamin for information on E. Goodwyn Lewis,
the staff at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum archives and Stephen
Howard, Curator at the Black Country Living Museum for allowing
me to examine and photograph their Parker dynamo.
If anyone has any further information on Thomas Parker, or any
of his products, please
email me, I would love to hear from you.
Return to the Engineering Hall
Return to Lives of Local People
Proceed to Early Years