Get in Touch

Bright Sparks – Caroline Haslett

The modern world would look very different without the contributions of those who helped us harness electricity and develop electrical equipment. Here, we focus on some of the pioneers of the electrical world and their remarkable achievements.

NAME: Caroline Haslett

DATES: 17 August 1895 (Worth, Suffolk) – 4 January 1957 (Bungay, Suffolk)

EARLY LIFE: Haslett was the second of five children; her older brother died aged three from diphtheria. Her father, a lay preacher and engineer on the railways, taught her how to use tools; her mother shared her commitment to women’s rights.

After winning a scholarship to a school in Haywards Heath, she learned about electricity in science classes, although problems with her spine led her to missing a lot of classes. After secretarial college, she worked as a junior clerk then a boiler designer and during the First World War became interested in mechanisation and industry.

FIRST INVENTION: Designed a boiler blueprint while working at the Scottish office of the Cochran Boiler Company.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS: As a woman in the male world of engineering, Caroline Haslett was a trailblazer, championing the use of electricity in the home with the aim of freeing women from domestic drudgery.

1910s

1919 applied and won the post of Organising Secretary for the Women’s Engineering Society. Here she met Lady Parsons, an engineer and the wife of Sir Charles Parsons, inventor of the Parsons Steam Turbine – they were to become close friends.

1920s

1923 became a member of the council of the Industrial Welfare Society (until 1955).

1924 spoke at the first World Power Conference in London in the segment covering Power in Domestic Use and Agriculture.

1924 co-founded the Electrical Association for Women.

1930s

1930s consulted by Board of Education on girls’ education and became honorary advisor to the Headmistress Employment Committee.

1931 appointed CBE in recognition of her promotion of the use of electricity in the home.

1932 became a Companion Member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers; the first woman chosen for this role.

1932 selected as Chair of the Home Safety Committee.

1933 became Vice President of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents; again, the first woman to take on this role.

1932 appointed Vice President of the Home Safety Committee.

1936 met Henry Ford and visited the Edison Museum in Florida, USA.

1940s

1940s sat on an Institution of Electrical Engineers committee looking at electrical installation needs in post-war Britain, including safety in the home; the only woman to be given this role.

1941 became President of the Women’s Engineering Society.

1941 gave a talk on women in industry at the Royal Society of Arts.

1946-54 was a member of the Council of the British Institute of Management.

1947 Awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire.

1950s

1953-4 became the first female Chair of the British Electrical Development Association.

 

3 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW:

  1. Haslett loved botany and in 1952 a white iris was named Dame Caroline after her.
  2. In 1930 she met Albert Einstein in Berlin at the World Power Conference.
  3. Her dying wish was to be cremated by electricity.

 

LEGACY:

At the time Haslett entered the workplace, very few women worked in engineering and very few houses had electricity. Her approach was to help inventions in electricity and engineering find a practical use in the home.

Her pioneering work included promoting the importance of electric lighting to reduce accidents in the home and improve eyesight. She also edited the Electrical Handbook for Women and Household Electricity.

As the voice for women in engineering, she inspired many women to join the profession, while improving the lives of many others through relieving some of the drudgery of household work.

image description

5 most common electrical problems in factories

Manufacturers rely heavily on electricity, often grinding to a halt if  electrical problems occurs. What’s more, serious electrical faults can trigger a fire or explosion, leading to injuries or, much worse, fatalities. As a plant or production manager, you don’t need to understand how to fix your factory’s electrical faults yourself – that’s our job. […]

Read more
image description

Voltage optimisation explained

Recent increases in energy costs mean power consumption has become one of the biggest concerns for companies in the manufacturing sector. Streamlining the production process to remove unnecessary and costly consumption points is a good exercise. But one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage energy consumption and reduce costs is voltage optimisation. […]

Read more
image description

Key factors when planning a factory extension

Customer demand can peak and trough, but if demand for your products is constantly rising, it could be time to expand. However, upsizing a factory is not straightforward. There are multiple components to think about before you begin to extend, and you might even find that relocation is a more viable option (although this is […]

Read more
image description

How control & automation can protect your staff and put you in control

While many modern machines are created with automation in mind, countless factories still run on old, inefficient technology. But without efficient equipment, systems and processes, your costs become unpredictable. If you’re still using outdated technology in your manufacturing plant, you’re likely paying over the odds for staffing, machinery and utilities. And old equipment isn’t just […]

Read more
image description

Will modern equipment reduce commercial energy costs

As a sector, manufacturing is responsible for using millions of megawatts of energy daily, long since a concern for anyone managing production and even more so in a period when commercial energy costs are heading upwards. With energy prices rising at an unprecedented rate, it has never been more critical to consider ways to streamline […]

Read more
image description

What are the DSEAR regulations surrounding hazardous areas?

There are many hazards in the workplace, particularly within the manufacturing sector. Consequently, a fundamental for any manufacturing business is workplace safety. Indeed, with the number of opportunities for accidents at their greatest in this type of environment – thanks to the machinery and materials used – it’s imperative you have robust procedures to protect […]

Read more