Record

Reference numberMS/681
LevelSubFonds
TitlePapers of William Henry Dines
Date1879-1927
DescriptionPapers by and addressed to W H Dines, relating to his school years, his years at Benson, and correspondence relating to instruments and other matters with his sons.
LanguageEnglish
Extent1 box, MS Box, Small
ArrangementUncatalogued
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyWilliam Dines was born 5 August 1855, son of George Dines, inventor of a hygrometer and an active Fellow of the Meteorological Society. Never robust, he was the only son to survive childhood. Learned engineering as a pupil at the Nine Elm Works of the South Western Railway, and after completing his apprenticeship went to Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. Took his BA degree in 1881 as twentieth wrangler. In 1882 he remained at Cambridge as a mathematical coach. Continued to teach mathematics, first as assistant to an army coach, and then in correspondence classes, but subsequently his meteorological work absorbed all his time. The Tay Bridge disaster of 28 December 1879, when a train crossing the bridge was carried away with the bridge into the river by a squall of wind, claimed attention of both meteorologists and engineers to decide what allowance should be made for wind force on engineers structures. Dines became the most active member of a Wind-Force Committee appointed by the Meteorological Society in 1886, revising the equation for wind-force from three 'significant figures' with a tolerance for 40 per cent to a single figure with very little error. He also designed the pressure tube anemograph for measuring wind velocity, including a device for recording the direction as well as velocity, hence providing a record of wind indispensable for the study of dynamical meteorology. In his investigation of the structure of the upper air, Dines was equally successful, being the prime mover in establishing a committee for the investigation of the characteristics of the free atmosphere by the Royal Meteorological Society and the British Association in 1901. Dines began with diamond shaped kites of his own design at Oxshott, and moved to the Chiltern Hills near Watlington. Here he developed the use of sounding balloons, maintaining the investigation with kites at the same time. He was helped by his assistant H W Baker, and other stations were set up by C J P Cave of Ditcham Park, Dr G C Simpson at the experimental station at Glossop Moor in Derbyshire, S H R Salmon with a kite station at Brighton, Captain C H Ley RE with sounding balloons at Ross in Herefordshire and subsequently at Bird Hill, Limerick. Later Mungret College in Limerick became a regular station for work in the upper air. By 1913 the scientific value of the use of sounding-balloons had been recognised, and in 1914 Dines acquired the property at Benson with the assent of the Meteorological Office. During the war the various centres of meteorological activity co-operated through the Meteorological Sub-Committee of the Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Benson was active both in experimental work and in co-ordinating and discussing results. After the war L F Richardson joined Dines, and they worked on investigating solar radiation. In 1922 Dines resigned the official charge of the observatory, his son L H G Dines becoming Assistant Superintendant to take charge of the official work, until in 1923 it was transferred to Kew Observatory. His main efforts of investigation were wind-measurement, investigation of the upper air, and solar and terrestrial radiation; but he was equally at home with the design of instruments, co-ordination and discussion of results, and consideration of current theory. He died in 1927.
Related materialDepartment of Manuscripts and University Archives, Cambridge University Archives, correspondence to Sir George Stokes Reference Add 7342, 7656;
Fellows associated with this archive
CodeNameDates
NA6243Dines; William Henry (1855 - 1927); Meteorologist1855 - 1927
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