Local inventor features in new history book

A Bolton Percy man has written and had published a book about a local historical figure who invented a ground-breaking piece of equipment that helped to shape communications technology.

Alan Swain, Chairman of The Friends of All Saints’ Bolton Percy, wrote the book entitled Rev Henry Hunnings MA: Inventor of the Carbon Granule Telephone Transmitter in 2017 after uncovering exciting information about a relatively unknown 19th century curate of All Saints’ Church.

Rev Hunnings, who worked at the church from 1874-1880, wasn’t rushed off his feet and found the time to experiment with microphones.

He went on to invent the carbon-granule telephone transmitter, using crushed up engine coke he collected from Bolton Percy Station.

He eventually sold his patent for this key piece of telephony equipment to inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison and it was used in analogue telephones around the world until the digital age some 100 years later.

The book details the life of Henry Hunnings from his humble birth in Tottenham where he grew up to become a printer, his move North to Bolton Percy and the personal scandal that beheld him there, his groundbreaking invention of the carbon granule telephone transmitter, his move away, followed by his sudden and untimely death which resulted a few years later following much stress and heartache.

Author Alan Swain, said: “The story of Henry Hunnings captured my interest as soon as I found out about his historical invention.

“I worked for British Telecom for many years, starting in the days when it was the General Post Office (GPO), and have always had an interest in the history of telephony. Add that to the fact it all took place in my village and involved the old railway station too.“

The book is priced at £7.99 and is available from Amazon.