Robert Foulis

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Robert Foulis was born in Glasgow, Scotland back in 1796. I don’t have any data as to his parents, education until 1817. His first wife Elizabeth died in childbirth, afterwards he moved to Canada arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1818-1819. There he taught drawing classes and painted portraits in oil.

In 1820, he moved to Saint John, New Brunswick where he was appointed deputy land surveyor in 1822. In 1825, he founded the Saint John Foundry. In 1853, while walking towards his house on a foggy night, he heard his daughter playing her piano. This gave him an idea which he will be noted for in the history books. It took him six years to develop. He died in 1866.

What you may not know about Robert is that idea he had is still in use to this day. for you see he invented the steam-powered forhorn. Now you know the rest of the story

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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, James Dray imagine how many lives would have been lost without that foghorn.... it's dangerous enough with one, at times!

Jan 22, 2020 04:05 AM #1
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

A necessity when boating.

A good way to see how high someone can jump!

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Jan 22, 2020 04:10 AM #2
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi James - for some reason, my mind wandered to a different discovery he might have made.  I see a bit of a correlation after you told us "the big reveal".  

Jan 22, 2020 04:27 AM #3
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi James... can't say I've ever given foghorns much thought at any time in my life... but your post reminded me how many inventions there have been (and probably will be) that have had a major impact on humanity that may not touch us personally.

Jan 22, 2020 04:54 AM #4
Donald Urschalitz
Lubeck Realty Group - Jupiter, FL
P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County

This sure helped many from tragic accidents.

Jan 22, 2020 05:07 AM #5
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

It is amazing how much power steam can provide and it is neat to see what people have used it for.

Jan 22, 2020 05:36 AM #6
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. It is Wednesday and the week is already full of "who knew" moments. Enjoy your day!

Jan 22, 2020 05:45 AM #7
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I had no idea, I guess we have always taken foghorns for granted.  Happy Wednesday.  A

Jan 22, 2020 06:28 AM #8
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning again James. So I am wondering about his daughters piano, and his second wife.

Jan 22, 2020 06:58 AM #9
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

That must have been some loud piano playing for that idea to come forth.

Jan 22, 2020 07:07 AM #10
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning James Dray -  that is a welcome sound when you are lost in fog in a boat.

Jan 22, 2020 08:31 AM #11
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Hearing his daughter play piano made him think of the foghorn? I'm glad my son is/was a better player than my son James Dray . And where would sporting events be today with out those portable little air powered foghorns?

Jan 22, 2020 12:44 PM #12
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi James- very interesting but wonder what her piano playing sounded like. 

Jan 22, 2020 12:49 PM #13
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Sometimes the best ideas are hatched from the most unlikely of circumstances. Sounds like her piano playing was doing a loop inside his head for years.

Jan 22, 2020 01:25 PM #14
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

James I have been negligent visiting your post have three escrow excuses.... with that said I know you don't want to hear excuses:)) indeed you are right I have not heard of this person, Endre

Jan 22, 2020 10:07 PM #15
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi James:

I have always enjoyed the sounds of foghorns. It's interesting that his daughter's piano playing inspired this useful invention.


Jan 25, 2020 11:45 AM #16
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

James Dray, once again you have succeeded in discovering another inventor and his worthwhile invention which aided humanity.  Wishing you a wonderful weekend, my friend. 

Jan 25, 2020 12:56 PM #18
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Inspiration struck and Robert Foulis took advantage of it. He stuck with it for several years until he got it right.


Feb 10, 2020 09:29 AM #19
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

I can't get how piano playing informed his development of a foghorn, but that is another interesting story from the 1800's, a time of fertile invention.  Thanks, James!

Feb 21, 2020 04:13 AM #20
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