Fredrick Dalton

Engineer at Ontario Hydro and a Toronto Centre member. Chant Medal recipient for 1950.

FREDRICK KEITH DALTON (1890-1975) joined the Toronto Centre in the early 1930s, participating in eclipse expeditions and writing reports for the Journal. After an absence of a few years, he rejoined the Society in 1944. Dalton spoke to the Centre a couple of times on Astronomy as a Hobby, and served on their Council for two years including a term as Recorder. He did a lot to bring astronomy to the public through talks and telescope demonstrations with his 10 cm Alvan Clark refractor, and prepared a manual for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Some of his papers in the Journal describe attachments he devised for his telescope to aid in finding Venus, Mercury and Polaris during daylight. Others, on tides and power generation, may seem to be a natural outgrowth of his professional occupation as an engineer with Ontario Hydro but in fact were just a facet of his deep and persistent curiosity to explore every aspect of nature. His experiments with radio communication before the advent of vacuum tubes and his investigations of the characteristics of different types of wood under fluorescence are two examples of his eclectic talents.

It was his three-part paper on Microhardness Testing of Iron Meteorites which proved especially significant and led to his receiving the Chant Medal for 1950. As a result of a long-standing interest in minerals, Dalton obtained a piece of the Canyon Diablo meteorite and tried to cut through it, breaking several hack-saw blades in the process. He thus became interested in investigating the hardness of meteorites with the use of a device called the Knoop indenter, well-known for testing metals. The advantage of this diamond-tipped instrument was its extremely small size which enabled measurements to be made on very small inclusions in meteorites.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)

Dalton, Fredrick