Fowler, William Henry 1807 - 1904


William Henry Fowler was born in July 1853 in Oldham. When he was 14 years old, he began engineering training at the Oldham firm of Platt Brothers, textile machinery manufacturers, and later became a draughtsman. At the age of 20, he won a Whitworth Scholarship and studied for four years at Owens College in Manchester. He was then appointed as Assistant Engineer to the Steam Users' Association and, in 1888, became General Manager of the Chadderton Iron Works.

In 1891, Fowler's career took a different turn and he became Editor of The Practical Engineer, a weekly journal published in Manchester. In 1898, he set up the Scientific Publishing Company on Corporation Street, Manchester.

His son Harold joined the Scientific Publishing Company in 1905 and started to design circular calculators. William Henry Fowler financed his son’s work, enabling the establishment of a workshop for the manufacture of calculators in 1908, under the new company name Fowler & Co. Between 1908 and 1912, William Henry Fowler took out three patents on pocket calculators, starting with the double-sided Long Scale or Pocket calculator that was to be the mainstay of production for the next 30 years. Around 1920, Fowler & Co introduced the Universal Calculator and four years later Fowler and his son took out a joint patent for its further development.

Fowler died in April 1932 and his son became owner of Fowler & Co.