Pim, Frederic William (1839–1925), businessman and pamphleteer, was born 8 May 1839 in Dublin, one of four sons and seven daughters of Jonathan Pim (qv), merchant and MP, and his wife Susanna Todhunter. He was educated in England at Bootham Friends’ school, York, and at Grove House, Tottenham. On leaving school he joined his family's company, Pim Brothers Ltd, which had been established by his grandfather, Thomas Pim, and two granduncles as a linen- and woollen-merchant business. Frederic's father had established a retail department store on the site of the old army barracks in South Great George's Street, Dublin. Frederic himself continued this expansionist trend, and during his lifetime the family company opened a shop at Exchequer Street, Dublin, and enlarged the store at George's Street.
He was also one of the principals of the allied company, Pim Brothers & Co., which had been formed to deal with the manufacture of Irish poplin, as well as the Greenmount Spinning Co. Ltd. This company was responsible for maintaining a large and important spinning factory at Harold's Cross in Dublin for many years, and had been handed down to Frederic by his father. Pim was also one of the principal proprietors of the bakery and flour-milling concern of Johnston, Mooney & O'Brien Ltd, of which he served as chairman for many years. He also served as one of the first directors of the coal merchants Thomas Heiton & Co. Ltd, from the firm's incorporation in 1896, in addition to acting as vice-president of the Dublin chamber of commerce, and a liquidator of the Munster Bank with J. J. Murphy and Robert Constable Hall (d. 1888).
As chairman of the board (1896–1916) of the Dublin, Wicklow, & Wexford Railway (renamed Dublin & South-Eastern Railway, 1907) Pim was presented with many challenges, not least of which was the regular need for large amounts of capital expenditure to preserve the railway track itself, part of which was constantly under threat from the encroachment of the sea. In response to the clamour for rail nationalisation, he published his most famous pamphlet, Railways and the state (1910), which argued persuasively in favour of maintaining railway ownership in private hands. He retired as chairman of the company in 1916 but remained a board member until his death.
He wrote a number of pamphlets on a wide spectrum of issues throughout his life. The mites in the cheese (1918) contained observations on conditions brought about by the first world war. His set of three presidential addresses to the Dublin Sanitary Association on the health of Dublin led to the creation of a number of civic movements in the city. He was a firm opponent of the home rule movement, and had seen his father lose his parliamentary seat in 1874 to a home rule candidate. Pim was convinced that a granting of home rule would lead to a fatal lack of confidence in the Irish economy. In 1893 he sat on the executive of the Liberal Union of Ireland alongside Edward Carson (qv). His most famous pamphlet on the subject, The Society of Friends and home rule: a letter to fellow members of the Society of Friends (1893) urged quakers to oppose home rule. In 1916 he wrote a stinging attack on the events of Easter week 1916 in The Sinn Féin rising: a narrative and some reflections. However, the radically different political climate in Ireland in 1919 encouraged him to modify his views on the subject, as was evident in his pamphlet Home rule through federal devolution (1919). He died 7 January 1925 at his home, ‘Lonsdale’, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, and is buried at the quaker burial ground, Temple Hill, in Blackrock.
He married first (14 September 1865), in Cork, Hannah (d. 1876), daughter of Joshua George Beale and Hanna Beale (née Cotter), of Cork. They had three sons and four daughters. He married secondly (1882) Mary Sophia, daughter of Erasmus C. Pratt of Philadelphia, USA; they had no surviving children. His second wife died in February 1884, days after giving birth prematurely to a son who predeceased her. His brother Joseph Todhunter Pim was a deputy governor of the Bank of Ireland and a founding director of Johnston, Mooney & O'Brien with John Findlater (qv) and Robert Gardner (qv).