Historical information

W.B Withers wrote of Sutton: "In the realm of science Ballarat has become of world-wide fame through the inventions by Mr Henry Sutton, a native of the place. His skill and acquirements in electricity, telegraphy, telephony, photography and also in astronomical and microscopal studies have won for him a high position as a practical scientist, and the credit is the greater as he is a self-taught student … Mr Sutton, before he was fourteen years old, had read every book on science to be found in the library of the Ballarat Mechanics' Institute."

The Ballarat School of Mines (SMB) was fortunate to have this genius appointed as the lecturer-in-charge of the new Electricity and Magnetism department from 23 April 1883. Although Henry Sutton submitted his resignation to the Council of SMB in October 1884 it was resolved that he be asked to reconsider, and Mr Sutton continued to teach at SMB until the end of 1886. He was a prominent member of the Camera Club, and many of the other SMB clubs.

Sutton had an active and fertile brain, and was known for his inventions, especially his work on the telephone, telephane and carbon lamps. Sutton presented a vacuum pump, worked by water jet, for use in SMB Chemistry classes. His report of 1883 states: ‘A telephonic circuit has been laid down between the [SMB] engine-house and workshops, to be used for experimental purposes.’

Henry Sutton spent much thought on artificial flight, and made some interesting experimental studies with flying birds. The storage of electricty also attracted his attention, and, after much work and thought evolved the Sutton Secondary Battery. A paper on this battery was presented to the Royal Society, London, and was afterwards printed in the 'Transactions'.

Henry Sutton is listed on the Federation University Honour Roll at

Physical description

A crude scientific instrument that measures amps, with a timber base and frame. Terminal posts and sliders contacts are positioned on top of the base, with flex attached.

Henry Sutton lectured at the Ballarat School of Mines (SMB) in Electricty and Magnestism between 1883 and 1886. In 1883 Sutton reported: ‘…The class has been unfortunately situated, by having to wait for instruments of precision ordered from England, but which have not come to hand. The delay has caused us to start constructing instruments, which it is hoped will bear favourable comparison with those of older date.'