John Milne

John Milne (30 December 1850 – 31 July 1913[1]) [2] was a British geologist and mining engineer who worked on a horizontal seismograph.

John Milne
John Milne
John Milne
Born30 December 1850
Liverpool, England
Died31 July 1913 (aged 62)
Occupationscientist, educator, foreign advisor to Japan
Known forForeign advisor to Meiji Japan
AwardsLyell Medal (1894)
Royal Medal (1908)


Milne was born in Liverpool, England, the only child of John Milne of Milnrow, and at first raised in Rochdale and later moved to Richmond, London.[3] He was educated at King's College London (AKC in Applied Science, 1870) and the Royal School of Mines.

Early career

In the summers of 1873 and 1874, following a recommendation by the Royal School of Mines, Milne was hired by Cyrus Field as a mining engineer to explore Newfoundland and Labrador in search of coal and mineral resources. During this time he also wrote papers on the interaction of ice and rock,[4] and visited Funk Island, writing another paper on the newly extinct great auk.[5] In December, 1873 Milne accompanied Dr. Charles Tilstone Beke on an expedition to determine the true location of Mount Sinai in northwest Arabia. He took the opportunity to study the geology of the Sinai Peninsula and passed on a collection of fossils to the British Museum.

Career in Japan (1875–1895)

Milne was hired by the Meiji government of the Empire of Japan as a foreign advisor and professor of mining and geology at the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo from 8 March 1876, where he worked under Henry Dyer and with William Edward Ayrton and John Perry. Partly from a sense of adventure and partly because he suffered from seasickness, he travelled overland across Siberia taking three months to reach Tokyo. In 1880, Sir James Alfred Ewing, Thomas Gray and John Milne, all British scientists working in Japan, began to study earthquakes following a very large tremor which struck the Yokohama area that year. They founded the Seismological Society of Japan (SSJ).[6] The society funded the invention of seismographs to detect and measure the strength of earthquakes. Although all three men worked as a team on the invention and use of seismographs, John Milne is generally credited with the invention of the horizontal pendulum seismograph in 1880.[7] Milne's instruments permitted him to detect different types of earthquake waves, and estimate velocities. In addition, the foreign professors trained Japanese students including Seikei Sekiya who would become, at the Imperial University, the first professor of seismology at any university in the world and his successor, Fusakichi Omori[8] who refined Milne's instruments to detect and record finer vibrations. In 1881, He had married Tone Horikawa, daughter of Horikawa Noritsune in Hakodate.

Order of the Rising Sun

In June, 1895, Milne was commanded to attend a meeting with His Imperial Majesty Emperor Mutsuhito and following this, returned to England. Soon after his arrival he learned that the Emperor had conferred upon him a rare distinction, The Third Grade of the Order of the Rising Sun and a life pension of 1,000 yen. This was in recognition of Professor Milne's contributions to seismology during his long residence in Japan. [9] [10]

Contributions to anthropology

From 1882, Milne contributed also to anthropology. He helped to develop theories on the origin of the Ainu of northern Japan and on the prehistoric racial background of Japan in general. He excavated for several years in the Omori shell mound and introduced the concept of the Koro-pok-guru, linked with the Inuit. Koropok-guru is from an Ainu word meaning "the man under the Fuki," i.e. a small person. An Ainu legend concerning their existence seems first to have been reported by Milne. But he believed their prehistoric sites to be only in Hokkaidō. For northeastern Japan proper, he supported the tradition which ascribed prehistoric sites to the Ainu, who lived in pits and made stone implements and pottery. He considered the inhabitants of the Kurile Islands, Sakhalin and southern Kamchatka to be of a different race, but possibly related to the Koro-pok-guru. He anticipated the work of scientists who recognised, in excavated materials, different prehistoric cultures for Hokkaidō and northeastern Japan.[11] His first cousin William Scoresby Routledge (related through his mother, Emma Twycross) was also an anthropologist. With his wife Katherine, Routledge worked in the early twentieth century in East Africa with the Kikuyu and on Easter Island (Rapa Nui).

Career in England (1895–1913)

After a fire on 17 February 1895 destroyed his home, observatory, library, and many of his instruments. Milne resigned his posts on 20 June 1895 and returned to England with his Japanese wife, settling at Shide Hill House, Shide, on the Isle of Wight, where he continued his seismographic studies. He was made a professor emeritus of Tokyo Imperial University.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1887 and persuaded the Society to fund 20 earthquake observatories around the world, equipped with his horizontal pendulum seismographs. His network initially included seven in England, three in Russia, two in Canada (one in Toronto and one in Victoria British Columbia), three on the east coast of the United States, and one in Antarctica, eventually growing to total 40 worldwide. These stations sent their 'station registers' to Milne, where the data formed the basis of Milne's researches. For the next 20 years, Milne’s seismological observatory was the world headquarters for earthquake seismology. In 1898, Milne (with W. K. Burton) published Earthquakes and Other Earth Movements, which came to be regarded as a classic textbook on earthquakes.

The need for international exchange of readings was soon recognized by Milne in his annual "Shide Circular Reports on Earthquakes" published from 1900 to 1912. This work was destined to develop in the International Seismological Summary being set up immediately after the First World War.

He delivered the Bakerian Lecture to the Royal Society in 1906 entitled Recent Advances in Seismology and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1908.[12]

Milne died of Bright's disease on 31 July 1913 and is buried in St. Paul's Church, Newport. His Japanese wife Tone returned to Japan in 1919 and died in 1926.

To mark the 100th anniversary of Milne's death, a public artwork has been commissioned for Little London near the harbour at Newport. The local Parish Council is providing a detailed explanatory board at Shide.


  1. ^ Who's Who 1914, p. xxiii
  2. ^ John Milne (1893). The Miner's Handbook: A Handy Book of Reference on the Subjects of Mineral Deposits, Mining Operations, Ore Dressing, Etc. For the Use of Students and Others Interested in Mining Matters. C. Lockwood and Son. p. 95.
  3. ^ McKeegan, Alice (27 October 2007). "Famous scientists on road to name wrangle". Retrieved 22 April 2008.
  4. ^ John Milne: Considerations on the Flotation of Icebergs-Geological Magazine (Decade II) (1877), 4: 65–71 Cambridge University Press [1]
  5. ^ Relics of the Great Auk on Funk Island, by John Milne. The Field, 27 March, 3, 10 April 1875.
  6. ^ Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Inventor, John Milne
  7. ^ Gregory Clancey. Earthquake Nation: The Cultural Politics of Japanese Seismicity, 1868–1930 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).
  8. ^ Otani, Shunsuke (2006). "A Japanese View of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Disaster". Earthquake Spectra, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. 22: S183–S205.
  9. ^ L.K. Herbert-Gustar and P.A. Nott , biography of Milne John Milne, Father of Modern Seismology in 1980 pp 120 ISBN 0-904404-34-X
  10. ^ Paul Kabrna "John Milne – the Man who Mapped the Shaking Earth" ISBN 978-0-9555289-0-3 Published by Craven & Pendle Geological Society in March 2007.pp68
  11. ^ Nishioka
  12. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 5 March 2012.


External links

Antrim (Northern Ireland Parliament constituency)

Antrim was a county constituency of the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1921 to 1929. It returned seven MPs, using proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

Dartmouth Big Green men's soccer

The Dartmouth Big Green men's soccer program represents the Dartmouth College in all NCAA Division I men's college soccer competitions. Founded in 1915, the Big Green compete in the Ivy League. The Big Green are coached by Bo Oshoniyi, who has coached the program since 2018. The Big Green plays their home matches at Burnham Field, on the Dartmouth campus.

Durban Harbour's John Milne

Durban Harbour's John Milne of 1879 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Colony of Natal.

In 1879, the Harbour Board of Natal placed a single 0-6-0ST saddle-tank locomotive in service, its first own locomotive for shunting work on the docks.

Good Morning Scotland

Good Morning Scotland is a Scottish breakfast radio news programme. It is broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland weekdays from 06:00 to 09:00. Established in 1973, it is the longest-running radio show broadcast from Scotland and remains one of the most popular. Weekend editions, broadcast between 08:00 and 10:00, were introduced in early 2015.

Based in many respects on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, it consists of regular news, sport, business, travel and weather bulletins along with interviews, in-depth reports and a daily religious slot Thought for the Day.

Jackie Milne

John Vance Milne (born 25 March 1911) was a Scottish footballer, who played for Arsenal and Middlesbrough. Milne represented Scotland twice. Arsenal won the old First Division in 1937-38 and he made 16 league appearances, enough for a winners' medal.

James Milne Henderson

Lt. James Young Milne Henderson (9 March 1891 – 31 July 1917) was a Scottish rugby union player and British Army officer who was killed in World War I.Milne Henderson was born James Young Henderson in Edinburgh to John, a chartered accountant and bank manager, and Edwardina "Ina" Young Henderson. (The family added the Milne to their surname a few years after he was born.) He had four brothers and one sister.He was educated at George Watson's College and played for the Watsonian RFC. A diverse athlete, he also played cricket, field hockey and was a champion swimmer as well, winning the East of Scotland swimming championship.Milne Henderson was a works manager for the Scottish food company McVitie and Price. He had one cap for Scotland against England in 1911 before he moved to Travancore, India for business. There he played for Madras Rugby Club.He served in the Highland Light Infantry and was mentioned in despatches by Field Marshal the Earl Haig. He was killed in the Third Battle of Ypres in July 1917. He is commemorated at the Menin Gate Ypres Memorial.His younger brother 2nd Lt. John Milne Henderson of the Royal Flying Corps was killed six months later in France. Their oldest brother was Royal Navy Commodore Thomas Milne Henderson (1888–1968).

John Milne (English footballer)

John Milne was an English footballer who played in the Football League for Ardwick and Bolton Wanderers.

John Milne (architect)

John Milne (1823 - 1904) was a Scottish architect operating throughout the second half of the 19th century, working largely in the Fife area. He was described as an ‘’inventive neo-Jacobean and Scots Baronial designer’’. He exhibited works at the Royal Scottish Academy in the 1860s. He was also an inventor of a pyro-pneumatic grate: a heating system for churches. He self-financed several improvement schemes to the town of St Andrews

John Milne (disambiguation)

John Milne (1850–1913) was a British geologist and mining engineer.

John Milne may also refer to:

Jack Milne (1907–1995), speedway rider

Jackie Milne (John Vance Milne, 1911–?), Scottish international footballer (Arsenal, Middlesbrough)

John Milne (English footballer) (fl. 1888–1894), English footballer (Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City)

John Milne (journalist) (1942–2014), BBC Scotland presenter

John Milne (politician) (1839–1922), Canadian iron moulder, businessman and Senator

John M. Milne (1850–1905), head of the institution that is today State University of New York at Geneseo

John Theobald Milne (1895–1917), English fighter pilot and flying ace during the First World War

John Milne (British Army officer) (born 1946),

John Milne (architect) (1823–1904), Scottish architect

John Clark Milne (1897–1962), Scottish poet

John Milne (sculptor), friend of the artist Käthe Schuftan

John Milne (journalist)

John Milne (13 May 1942 – 14 July 2014) was a Scottish broadcaster and journalist who was known for presenting BBC Scotland's Reporting Scotland with Mary Marquis in the 1980s and 1990s and Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland. Milne was also a presenter on Newsnight Scotland for much of the 2000s.

John Milne (politician)

John Milne (January 22, 1839 – March 4, 1922) was a Canadian iron moulder, businessman and Senator.

Milne was president and managing director of Burrow, Stewart and Milne, a Hamilton, Ontario foundry company that manufactured stoves and was also president or director of several other Hamilton area concerns. He was also involved with municipal governance as one of the city's first hydro commissioners and also served as an appointee on various other municipal boards.He was appointed to the Senate in 1915 by Sir Robert Borden and sat as a Conservative.

John Milne Bramwell

John Milne Bramwell (11 May 1852 – 16 January 1925) was a Scottish physician, surgeon and specialist medical hypnotist. He was born in Perth and educated at the University of Edinburgh.

Johnny Checketts

John Milne "Johnny" Checketts, (20 February 1912 – 21 April 2006) was a New Zealand flying ace of the Second World War, who was credited with the destruction of ​14 1⁄2 enemy aircraft, three probably destroyed and 11 damaged.

Born in Invercargill, Checketts worked as a mechanic before joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in October 1940. After completing his flight training he was sent to the United Kingdom to serve with the Royal Air Force. From January 1942, he flew with No. 485 (NZ) Squadron before being posted to No. 611 Squadron. He returned to No. 485 Squadron in August 1943 as its commander but two months later was shot down over occupied France. He was returned to the United Kingdom by the French Resistance. He later commanded a wing carrying out operations in support of the D-Day landings and escorting heavy bombers on raids into Germany.

After the war, he remained in the RNZAF, commanding air bases in New Zealand and Fiji. Returning to civilian life in 1954, he set up an aerial topdressing company and later did conservation work. He died in 2006, at the age of 94.

Kevin Milne

Kevin John Milne, ONZM (born 18 March 1949) is a New Zealand television presenter, best known for hosting the show Fair Go from 1983-2010. He lives in the Kapiti Coast near Wellington.

Milne had a valve replacement as part of heart surgery in October 2004, and was diagnosed with a brain tumour in mid-2009, which required surgery the following year.He is a former student of St Bede's College, Christchurch.

Milne Barbour

Sir John Milne Barbour, 1st Baronet JP, DL (1868 – 3 October 1951) was a Northern Irish politician and baronet. As a member of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland he was styled The Right Honourable Sir Milne Barbour.

NGR Class K 0-6-0ST

The Natal Government Railways Class K 0-6-0ST of 1880 was a South African steam locomotive from the pre-Union era in the Colony of Natal.

In 1880, the Natal Government Railways placed a single 0-6-0 saddle-tank locomotive in service. It was virtually identical to the Harbour Board of Natal's locomotive John Milne of 1879 and was built by the same manufacturer. During 1905 or 1906, the locomotive was designated NGR Class K.

Pie in the Sky (TV series)

Pie in the Sky is a light-hearted British police drama starring Richard Griffiths and Maggie Steed, created by Andrew Payne and first broadcast in five series on BBC1 between 13 March 1994 and 17 August 1997 as well as being syndicated on other channels in other countries, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The series differs from other police dramas in that the protagonist, Henry Crabbe, while still being an on-duty, "semi-retired" policeman (much against his will), is the head chef of the title restaurant set in the town of Middleton and county of Westershire.

Shide, Isle of Wight

Shide is a small settlement on the Isle of Wight, some of which is considered to be in the Newport conurbation.

Shide Hill House, which was demolished in the 1970s, was situated with its back towards St. George's Lane and Pan Chalk Pit with the reception rooms looking westwards across the Blackwater Road, river and railway to the open fields on the other side of the valley. It was the home and workplace of John Milne (1850–1913), inventor of the horizontal pendulum seismograph after he retired from the Imperial College of Engineering in Tokyo, Japan. Still left today is the Gatehouse to the estate at the bottom of St George's Lane and the Domestic Quarters, now known as Milne House, which were attached to the original building going up the lane. The Observatory, housed in the stable block, was dismantled and moved to Oxford in 1919 when Tone Milne returned to Japan and the estate was sold for development. However, the Laboratory Block still exists and is the building facing into the fields towards Blackwater.

The Isle of Wight County Cricket Ground is just south of Shide.

There is a cycleway between Shide and Merstone, and public transport is provided by Southern Vectis buses on route 2, 3 and 38.Shide railway station was opened in 1875 and closed in 1956.

South Antrim (Northern Ireland Parliament constituency)

South Antrim was a constituency of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.

The House of Commons (Method of Voting and Redistribution of Seats) Act (Northern Ireland) 1929 introduced first-past-the-post elections for 48 single-member constituencies (including Antrim South).


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.