Category:Magnus Volk

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Magnus Volk (1851–1937) was a Brighton-born inventor and electrical engineer who achieved a number of early successes and world firsts in the field of electrical engineering, including the world's first electric railway (still running!), early electrical public lighting and telephony, and early examples of electric cars.


Volk was born in a house on Western Road in 1851. During his early life he had some success producing parlour telegraph sets which were little more than toys for rich men to impress their friends with. He first became properly well-known in 1879 when he installed the first telephone line in Brighton from his house in Preston Road to another nearby in Springfield Road.

The following year he cemented his fame by being the first person in the town to light his home by electricity. This success led to him being awarded a contract for installing electric lighting throughout the Brighton Pavilion gardens and within the Brighton Museum and Corn Exchange complex.

In 1883 he launched his most famous and long lasting project. The Volk's Electric Railway which still runs along the seafront today, making it the oldest electric railway in the world that is still running. A model of one of the V.E.R Carriages is on display in the museum.

In 1896 he launched his Brighton to Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway which has become better known as the Daddy Long-Legs. It ran on a three mile track between Banjo (Paston Place) Groyne and Rottingdean powered by overhead cables like a tram. Despite its popularity, the novel railway was forced to halt operations in 1901 when extra sea defences built by Brighton Town Council intersected the trackway. A model of the Pioneer car is also on display in the museum in Arch One.

Volk continued to be involved in various projects in and around Brighton until his death in 1937.

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