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GOMPERTZ, LEWIS:

English inventor of London; died Dec. 2, 1861; brother of Benjamin Gompertz, the mathematician. He devoted his life to the cause of kindness to animals, and in 1824 set forth his views in a work entitled "Moral Enquiries on the Situation of Men and Brutes," which attracted considerable notice, resulting in the foundation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Gompertz became honorary secretary of the society and worked for it with much enthusiasm. In 1832 religious difficulties arose between Gompertz and the executive committee; his "Moral Enquiries" was denounced as hostile to Christianity, and he severed his connection with the society. He then proceeded to form "The Animals' Friend Society," which speedily outstripped the parent institution. In connection with the new society Gompertz edited "The Animals' Friend, or the Progress of Humanity"; but owing to ill health he was obliged to retire in 1846 from public work, and the society disbanded.

Gompertz was the inventor of shot-proof ships, with contrivances for reflecting the balls to the places from which they were fired; a mechanical cure for apoplexy; and the expanding chuck, which is now to be found in almost every workshop.

Besides a volume of articles from "The Animals' Friend," Gompertz was also the author of "Mechanical Inventions and Suggestions on Land and Water Locomotion," London, 1851.

Bibliography:
  • Jew. Chron. Nov. 1, 1889;
  • Allibone, Dict. of Authors;
  • Dict. National Biography, s.v.
J. G. L.
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