Tags: Computing, Engineering, Photography, Trade, Italy, place: Paris
Photographer Cesare Zani de Ferranti was born in 1831 in Paris, the oldest son of an Italian composer and classical guitarist. Living in Belgium, he became one of the early photographers in the country. He then married concert pianist Juliana Scott, the eldest daughter of painter William Scott, and moved to Liverpool where, in 1859, he opened a studio with his father-in-law in Sandon Terrace / Upper Duke Street. It combined a photographic and art portrait studio. After William’s death in 1862 Cesare moved his studio to Bold Street. His son, electrical engineer and inventor Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti was born on 9 April 1864 in Liverpool. He was educated at Hampstead School and University College London. He began manufacturing dynamos at a young age and his company soon was a major supplier of electricity and electric power grid systems. At twenty-two he was appointed chief engineer for the London Electric Supply Corporation, for whom he oversaw construction of the Deptford Power Station in 1887, London’s first major power-generation plant. He settled at no. 31 Lyndhurst Road in Hampstead. His company Ferranti Ltd, planned and built much of England’s national grid, and later became famous for its early computers, including the Ferranti Mark I, introduced as the first commercially built general-use computer in 1951. Ferranti died in 1930, and Ferranti Ltd ceased operations in 1993. His grandson Basil de Ferranti was a member of the House of Commons from 1959 to 1964.