Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society

    Frank Twyman was born in Canterbury on 17 November 1876. His father, George Edmund Twyman, had nine children, and Frank was the seventh child. George Twyman was a ropemaker, specializing in ropes, netting and jute articles for the hop trade. His sons used to help, and Frank cut out and sewed hop-pockets, and designed a machine for marking hop-pockets with their consecutive numbers. Frank Twyman attended the Simon Langton School, Canterbury, until September 1892 when he began a two-year course in electrical engineering at the Finsbury Technical College, where he studied under Sylvanus Thompson, John Perry and Meldola. While at Finsbury, he won the Siemens Scholarship to the Central Technical College, South Kensington (later to form part of Imperial College). While he was at school, he had proved so expert at passing examinations with a minimum of knowledge that ‘in entering for the Intermediate B.Sc. examination I thought I could pass without knowing anything whatever. I was mistaken; so it is that my highest academic distinction is to have failed in both biology and chemistry in the Intermediate B.Sc. examination.’ It is fair to add that at the time he was making a model of ‘Duplex Telegraphy’ for a lecture of Professor Ayrton’s, and correcting the proofs of a new edition of one of Ayrton’s books, and he attributed his failure in part to the conscientiousness with which he was doing these tasks.


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