HODGKINSON, EATON (1780-1861), English engineer, the son of a farmer, was born at Anderton near Northwich, Cheshire, on the 26th of February 1789. After attending school at Northwich, he began to help his widowed mother on the farm, but to escape from that uncongenial occupation he persuaded her in 1811 to remove to Manchester and start a pawnbroking business. There he made the acquaintance of John Dalton, and began those inquiries into the strength of materials which formed the work of his life. He was associated with Sir William Fairbairn in an important series of experiments on cast iron, and his help was sought by Robert Stephenson in regard to the forms and dimensions of the tubes for the Britannia bridge. A paper which he communicated to the Royal Society on "Experimental Researches on the Strength of Pillars of Cast Iron and other Materials," in 1840 gained him a Royal medal in 1841, and he was also elected a fellow. In 1847 he was appointed professor of the mechanical principles of engineering in University College, London, and at the same time he was employed as a member of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the application of iron to railway structures. In 1848 he was chosen president of the Manchester Philosophical Society, of which he had been a member since 1826, and to which, both previously and subsequently, he contributed many of the more important results of his discoveries. For several years he took an active part in the . discussions of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which he was elected an honorary member in 1851. He died at Eaglesfield House, near Manchester, on the 18th of June 1861.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)