Robert Foulis

He presented his plan for a steam fog whistle to the Lighthouse Commissioners in 1853. A steam alarm was installed on Partridge Island in 1860 but not until a government report recognized Foulis's earlier contribution did he gain recognition as inventor of the world's first steam-operated fog alarm.

Foulis, Robert
Robert Foulis was the inventor of the first steam-operated fog horn (artwork by Irma Coucill).

Foulis, Robert

 Robert Foulis, civil engineer (b at Glasgow, Scot 5 May 1796; d at Saint John 26 Jan 1866). Foulis studied medicine, engineering and painting in Glasgow and Edinburgh. In 1818 he was painting in Halifax and in 1821 moved to Saint John. He installed the machinery in the second and third steamers to ply the Saint John River, established the Saint John Foundry, lectured in chemistry, established a "School of Arts" and was a founding member of the MECHANICS' INSTITUTE.

He presented his plan for a steam fog whistle to the Lighthouse Commissioners in 1853. A steam alarm was installed on Partridge Island in 1860 but not until a government report recognized Foulis's earlier contribution did he gain recognition as inventor of the world's first steam-operated fog alarm. He also invented a "Tide Machine" designed to harness the tides of the Bay of Fundy, an "Amphocratic Steam Engine" for use in sawmills, an "Illuminating Gas Apparatus" for making coal and water gas, and a method of telegraphing by means of steam whistles.