Former Pupil Biographies
William Aitken (1863 - 1957)
William Aitken was born in St Andrews in 1863. He died 8
November 1957 in Muswell Hill, London.
Who's Who in Engineering carries the following
AITKEN, William. M.I.E.E., A.Am. I.E.E. Private Address:
14 King's Avenue, Muswell Hill, N.10. Career: 1903, Chief of the Tech.
Staff, National Telephone Co., Ltd.; 1913, Engr.., Liverpool Works,
British Insulated, Ltd.; 1920, Tech. Advisor Relay Automatic Telephone
Co., Ltd.; retained by Automatic Telephone Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and
Automatic Electric CO. Inventor of subject matter of about one hundred
patents. Books: "Aitken's Manual of the Telephone"; "Automatic Telephone
Systems" (3 vols.), "Who invented the Telephone", etc.
'Old Boys Chronicle' in the
Madras College Magazine for
'Aitken's Manual of the Telephone ' By W. Aitken, M.l.E.E.
"Mr. W. Aitken is one of the ' Old Boys ' of whom the
Madras College has great reason to feel proud, one who, having made choice
of his profession, has taken the trouble to master it and to become
conversant with all the details in connection with it.
That Mr. Aitken has done this in his own province of
Electrical Engineering is abundantly manifest in the bulky volume which he
has written on the Telephone. He is peculiarly fitted to be the author of
such a work, for since 1882 he has intimate acquaintance with the
practical working of Telephonic systems, a period which is almost
co-extensive with the existence of the telephone, which was originally
patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.
In the book, Mr. Aitken, after devoting a chapter to the
electrical theory of the telephone, and giving an account of the history
and development of telephony, deals with each part of the instrument in
detail, showing the advantages and defects of the various types of
transmitters, receivers, bells and batteries.
A chapter on Private Telephone Installations is of
especial interest to business men and to schools, as by means of such an
arrangement the head of the establishment can communicate with any of the
department without leaving his desk.
The greater part of Mr. Aitken's book deals with the ' Central Exchange '
in its varied forms and with all its wealth of complicated details, and he
has brought the work quite up-to-date by describing and discussing very
fully the best automatic systems, whereby the ' telephone girl ' is
completely dispensed with. This system, which has taken root in America,
is as yet only on its trial in this country.
The value of Mr. Aitken's book to the student of
Electrical Engineering cannot be over estimated, and this value is much
enhanced by the excellent photographs and diagrams with which the book is
He was married in 1891 to Ellen Mary Prosser and they had
one son, William Allan. Ellen died in 1927 and he married Lucy Helen Boyd
in 1928 in Edmonton, Middlesex.