Liverpool Journal 8th Jan 1881

On Monday Mr John Thomas TOWSON, aged 77, of 47 Upper Parliament St, quietly passed away, his name is well known in scientific circles, in other countries as in Liverpool where he has been for the last 25 yrs.

He was formerly the Chief Scientific Examiner of Masters and Mates for the Port of Liverpool, and Secretary for the Local Marine Board, appointed to these offices in 1850 and held them till 1873, when he retired

He was succeeded by his Nephew Mr George BEALL, now Chief examiner for the Port of London.

Mr TOWSON wrote many works on the science of navigation of great value to the Mercantile Marine. After his retirement he was retained by the Board of Trade as Consultative Examiner of compasses, up to a month ago he enjoyed good health, but 4 wks ago fell down stairs and broke 2 ribs, Dr NEVINS and Dr KISCH attended him immediately, there were prospects of recovery but 10 days ago congestion of the brain set in and he remained unconscious, death took place yesterday.

Mr TOWSON leaves a widow and a married daughter also a widow, her husband was the late Mr T. S. HANCOCK.

The funeral will take place on Thursday at St James Cemetery.

The following details of Mr TOWSON is given in the, “Men of our time” :-

TOWSON, John Thomas, born Devonport 1804.

His father was a Chronometer and Watchmaker, Mr TOWSON Jnr was inclined to the study of scientific subjects.

He was first to direct the attention of photographers to the fact that the luminous and chemical foci were not of the same length, this enabled Dr DRAPER of New York to take the first photograph from life.

He was also the first to devise the means of taking a photographic picture on glass, and the use of the deflecting camera.

In 1846 he devoted his thought to navigation, especially to determine the quickest routes across the oceans to distant lands.

He constructed a set of tables for facilitating the practice of great circle sailing, and invented, and brought into practice, composite and windward, great circle sailing.

He invented and constructed tables for the reduction of extra-meridian altitudes, a work now going through its 10th edition. He presented the copyright to the Admiralty who ordered them to be printed for Mariners and Shipowners.

Shipowners presented him on 9th Jan 1857, a testimonial and dock bond for £1000, and gratuity for over £100 for his works.

In 1854, MR TOWSON aided Dr SCOREBY in directing the attention of the scientific section to the importance of investigating more fully the deviation of compasses on iron ships, which was published in a manual by Mr TOWSON in 1863.

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