Updated 23-V-2021

Roger Alan Hume

Roger Alan Hume1

Roger Hume was born in the London borough of Ealing on 12th March 1947, as the only child of Hazel and Leonard. He grew up in the nearby village of Ruislip and from a young age enjoyed outdoor activities, often venturing out to Ruislip Lido to swim. He also enjoyed going out on his bike or riding the London Underground, frequently to buy parts that fuelled his practical side of building and making things.

Following primary school he passed the 11+ examination, and was further educated at the St.Nicholas Grammar School for Boys in Northwood, Middlesex. During this time he developed a great interest theatrical and musical productions, no doubt inspired by his grandparents who both worked at the London Palladium and who had impressed upon him a good appreciation for all kinds of music. But he derived particular enjoyment from his backstage roles in set design, and of course, the lighting. Little could he have known at the time that this would form his future career path. It set him on a journey to becoming one of the world's most talented lamp engineers, developing the technologies and products on which generations of other theatrical and studio lighting enthusiasts would come to rely.

It was during his school years that his other great passion of sailing emerged, this being offered as an alternative to Rugby. He learned to sail on Rickmansworth Water, but his enquiring mind was not limited only to this recreational activity - he began to build the boats as well. He would save his pocket money to buy parts for building dinghies, and recalled happy memories of taking one of them out on a reservoir known as the Welsh Harp. He named that boat 'Harpic', and in reference to the popular brand of cleaning product always said it went clean round the bend!

After completion of his education, Roger made the astute choice to look for a career that would allow him to combine his creativity, scientific and technical knowledge in a practical way. One of his interviewees enquired why he had paint on his hands - and after explaining that he had been painting his boat just beforehand, it clearly presented a good impression of a young man with excellent practical skills. He was offered the job, and so began his career at the Osram-GEC Wembley Lampworks.

During his spare time outside work, the theatre continued to occupy his interests and he took responsibility for lighting at the Fullerian Players. It was here that he met his wife Angela, having taken her to hospital and driven her home following a minor injury off-stage. Angela had so many rings on her fingers that he was sure she must be married - but when he enquired and the response was a pleasant surprise, he showed no fear of bad luck by asking her out on Friday the 13th outside Room 13. Romance blossomed and within a few months they became engaged - and acquired their first dog Pepys, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel before being married in 1971 at Berkhamsted. The couple lived at St.Albans, and in 1975 relocated to the English Midlands to start their family. Their first daughter Bridget was born in 1975, followed by two more daughters, Zoe and Susan.

It was at this time that Roger moved from Osram-GEC to its principal competitor, Thorn Lighting at Leicester. The 1970s marked a period of tremendous development in studio and theatrical lighting, fuelled by the transition from incandescent lamps to the new tungsten-halogen technology. Osram-GEC had relatively limited resources at that time and chose to focus its investments in other lighting applications - to the frustration of Roger, whose innovative mind was becoming limited by his employer's inability to make the necessary investments. Thorn meanwhile had made entertainment lighting one of its primary objectives, and its superior financial strength and readiness to invest presented a perfect synergy with Roger's ambitions. During the following decades he achieved international recognition as one of the leading engineers in halogen theatre and studio lighting. His work took him to customers all around the world, and hr developed countless new quartz-halogen lamps along with fundamental scientific principles that continue to be used in the production of today's modern light sources. His accomplishments were admirably presented in the following tribute from one of his co-workers, Clive Salmon of the Special Lamps Sales & Marketing Division:
I worked with Roger for over twenty years during which time we visited most of the TV, film and theatre lighting manufacturers, and worked with TV & film studios throughout Europe and the USA. There are too many to name all, so a few examples are BBC, ITV, ZDF Germany, REI Rome, RTE Dublin, Pinewood, Shepperton and Paramount Film Studios. Working with the technical teams of these customers Roger made a massive impact with his technical abilities, and was responsible for producing many light sources some of which are in use today. Particularly the PAR64 which was launched on the film Flash Gordon which was made in the late 70's.

I remember calling with Roger on a customer who wanted something completely different and unique, a difficult task. Roger said it could not be done, I asked "why?" - looking over his glasses he replied "because physics says so!" - but, Roger being Roger, he came up with an excellent compromise and the result sold worldwide. He never gave up and this is why he had the respect from customers and colleagues alike - not only for his technical prowess but his integrity and sense of humour as we did have some laughs along the way. From a marketing and sales point of view we always knew that Roger would be there to help us with any problems that we encountered.

It was a pleasure and privilege to work with Roger; and Pam and I are delighted to say he and Angela remained good friends after we retired. (Clive Salmon)
The author also had the great pleasure to spend a brief period working with Roger, while being trained as a student at the GE Lighting factory in Leicester. In view of his tremendous knowledge and experience his advice was frequently sought, and he invested generous amounts of time passing on tips and tricks to the younger generations such that the whole technology group could benefit from and build on his great achievements.

Such was the level of experience he built up, that fellow engineers often wondered at his unbelievably close 'feel' for halogen lamp design and technology. Even today not everything can be calculated or mathematically modelled, and many lamps only become viable after making and testing dozens of experimental designs. When making a new development, the critical moment would always arrive when it became necessary to determine the precise halogen chemistry and concentrations for the gas filling. A knock at Roger's door could always be relied upon to provide a speedy short-cut in the development process, and colleagues would watch in amazement while after being questioned, he would pause for a few moments, the thought processes almost visibly flashing across his face, before boldy announcing which design we should try first. Circumventing weeks of slothful prototyping iterations, Roger became renowned for getting it right first time, almost every time.

Following retirement Roger and his wife moved to Cargreen in Cornwall, the sailing opportunities obviously playing a major role in the choice of that location. He soon established himself within the local Yacht club as Clubhouse Officer. He looked after all aspects of the clubhouse and building, his practical skills never diminishing as he promptly removed part of a wall to create a lighter and larger bar area for the members. His disciplined work ethics and attention to detail and regulations shone through as the house won a coveted 5-star rating for food hygiene. Roger's sense of humour and quick wit made him ever-popular, and his kindness and generosity were always offered to the community and his family.

Roger was a proud grandfather of three boys Jacob, Kai and Arthur, the eldest of course being embraced in the boating world during visits, and benefitting from his widespread experience to help with education. He made a visit back to the Midlands to meet his newest grandchildren in 2016, but having been struggling with his health for some time, passed away most unexpectedly at the age of just 69 on 31st July 2016.

Roger Hume at Right, 2002

Examples of Lamps Developed by Hume
Osram-GEC Twin-Filament Studio CP/57 Osram-GEC Twin-Filament Studio CP/22 Thorn Halogen Studio PAR64 1000W CP/60 Thorn Halogen Infrared Cooker with Reflector GE Halogen MR16
Twist-and-Lock TAL423

  1. Tungsten Halogen Reflector Lamps, R.A. Hume & A.J. Barrell, Proceedings of the UK National Lighting Conference 1986, pp.246-255.

  1. EP 0,115,392 - 29.01.1983 - Improvements in Tungsten Halogen Incandescent Lamps (Hydrogen addition to prevent arcing) - with Ian Connor
  2. EP 0,133,764 - 02.08.1983 - Incandescent Lamp (Halogen Cooker with Side Reflector) - with Alex Halberstadt
  3. EP 0,183,403 - 24.11.1984 - Lead Wires in Pinch Seals (non-refractory alloy wires)
  4. WO 1991-017,387 - 01.05.1990 - Decorative Lamps (GE MR16 HaloGEM series)
  5. WO 1992-014,967 - 21.02.1991 - Improvements in Lamps and Holders in Display Lighting (GU7 Lamp Cap & Holder Concept) - with Richard Felstead, Douglas Lee, Lawrence Barling, Anthony Barrell
  6. EP 0,588,541 - 14.09.1992 - Electric Incandescent Lamps (Planar Filament with IR-Coated Bulb) - with John Stocks and Dave Wharmby
  7. GB 2,300,297 - 25.04.1995 - Linear Filament Lamps (Filament support method for halogen-IRC lamps)
  8. GB 2,302,208 - 08.01.1997 - Electric Incandescent Lamps (Halogen-IRC filament with modified pitch ratio) - with John Stocks and Dave Wharmby
  9. EP 1,154,464 - 12.05.2000 - Incandescent Lamp with Filament Array for High Efficacy (HPL Source-4 type with central limb) - with Andy Davies
  10. EP 1,162,649 - 09.06.2000 - Supporting a Filament Array for an Incandescent Lamp (HPL Source-4 type) - with Andy Davies
  11. WO 2007-015,737 - 25.07.2005 - Light Source for High Efficiency Illumination (Monoplane grid filament of circular section) - with Andy Davies
  12. WO 2008-024,591 - 24.08.2006 - Large PAR Lamp Exhibiting Excellent Colour with Improved Efficacy and Life (CMH PAR64) - with David Lovett

References & Bibliography
  1. Obituary Roger Alan Hume - saved from website www.lastingmemorial.co.uk
  2. Private Communication with Bridget Bye, eldest daughter, August 2016.