1931 - Sir John Dewrance
Sir John Dewrance was born in Peckham in 1858. His father was associated with George Stephenson, and was the erector of the Rocket. He later became locomotive superintendent of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. He went into partnership with Joseph Woods, brother of the engineer of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, who had founded an engineering company in London.
Sir John was educated at Charterhouse and at King’s College, London. In 1879 he took over his father’s firm, and a year later took control of the research laboratory and staff of Professor Barff. This establishment was later known as the Albion Chemical Works.
Sir John took part in a great deal of research, particularly investigating lubrication, metallurgy and corrosion. He served as Chairman of the Alloys Research Committee, Research Advisory Committee, Cutting Tools Research Committee as well as the Finance and House Committee of the IMechE.
In 1899, Dewrance was elected chairman of Babcock and Wilcox, which position he held until his retirement on July 1937. He took out over 100 patents, mostly relating to improvements in boiler mountings and steam fittings.
During the First World War he was engaged on Government contracts, and he served on various committees of the Ministry of Munitions, the Ministry of Labour and the Treasury.
He was President of the IMechE in 1923. He also served as President of the Engineering and Allied Employers’ National Federation from 1920 to 1926, and President of the Institute of Metals in 1926. He was an Honorary Member of the Institution of Royal Engineers, and was made an Honorary Life Member of the IMechE in 1931. He was also appointed to the General Board of the National Physical Laboratory, and to the Engineering Research Board. In 1923 he was Master of the Armourers’ and Braziers’ Company.
He died on 7 October 1937.
1932 - Sir Henry Fowler
Sir Henry Fowler was born in Evesham in 1870. He studied at Mason Science College, Birmingham from 1885 to 1887. He then commenced his apprenticeship at the Horwich Works of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. He served in the shops until 1891 when he obtained a Whitworth Exhibition and was transferred to the test room. Three years later he became chief inspector of materials and in the following year he was appointed gas manager to the company.
Around this time he became interested in automobiles, and was associated with important motor-car trials at Crystal Palace in 1897. In 1900 he was appointed gas engineer to the Midland Railway, and was later assistant works manager and works manager at Derby.
During the First World War he was appointed Director of Production to the Ministry of Munitions in 1915, and Assistant Director-General of Aircraft Production in 1917. In 1918 he went to America and Canada as Chairman of the first Inter-Allied Conference on the Standardization of Aircraft Components.
On the incorporation of the Midland Railway in 1923 into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, he was made deputy chief mechanical engineer, and two years later he was made chief mechanical engineer. He was responsible for the design of the Royal Scot class of 4-6-0 locomotives in 1927, and for an experimental modification of the design in 1930 to accommodate a Schmidt high-pressure boiler. The following year, Sir Henry was appointed assistant to the vice-president for research and development.
He was President of the IMechE in 1927. He was President of the Engineering Section of the British Association in 1923, and President of the Institute of Metals in 1932. He acted as joint general secretary of the International Railway Congress Association in 1925. He died on 16 October 1938.
1932 - Sir Vincent Litchfield Raven
Sir Vincent Litchfield Raven was born in 1858 at Great Fransham Rectory, Norfolk. In 1877 he began a three year apprenticeship at the Gateshead works of the North Eastern Railway. In 1880 he entered the drawing office, and he was then employed for five years on firing and inspector’s duties. He became a divisional locomotive superintendent in 1888. He was promoted in 1894 to divisional locomotive superintendent, and chief assistant mechanical engineer in 1903. Seven years later he became chief mechanical engineer.
During the First World War, he was appointed Chief Superintendent of the Royal Arsenal Factories, Woolwich. In 1917 he was created a Knight Bachelor for his services. Following the war he returned to the North Eastern Railway. He remained chief mechanical engineer until it merged with the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923. He then retired, but continued to act as technical advisor to the LNER.
After his retirement he travelled to New South Wales and New Zealand to investigate the working of the State railways. In 1925 he was appointed chairman of a committee of experts reporting on Indian railway workshop organization.
Raven served as President in 1925. He died at Felixstowe on 14 February 1934.
1932 - William Henry Patchell
William Henry Patchell was born in Lincolnshire in 1862. He served a five-year apprenticeship with Robey and Company. In 1881 he was sent to take charge of seven compound Robey steam engines which were being exhibited at the Paris Exhibition. He later became their representative in Spain, and was responsible for the installation of electric lighting plant at Barcelona, Cordova, Madrid and Valencia.
In 1886 he was appointed manager of the Millwall Works of the Electrical Power Storage Company, and was involved with the development of public and private electric supply plant. In 1893 he was appointed engineer-in-chief of the Charing Cross and Strand Electric Supply Company and was responsible for the design and construction of the new works at Lambeth, which opened in 1896. He was also responsible for the design of the new station at Bow in 1902.
In 1906, he resigned and established a consulting engineering practice, specializing in electric generation and the electrification of mines. He was appointed a member of the Home Office Committee on Electricity in mines in 1904.
He was President of the IMechE from 1924-1925, and had served on Council and many important committees for twenty-two years at the time of his death. He was largely responsible for the inauguration of Local Branches. He died at the age of 70 years on 24 November 1932.
1932 - Sir William Reavell
Sir William Reavell was born near Capel, in Surrey, on 2 March 1866. His family moved to Alnwick, Northumberland, where he attended the Grammar School. In 1882, he was apprenticed to Hawthorn, Leslie and Co. Ltd. at their St Peter’s Works, Newcastle upon Tyne. He remained there for seven years, spending the last two years in the marine engine drawing office. At the same time he was attending evening classes at the Armstrong College.
In 1889, he came to London and joined the firm of Maudlsey, Sons and Field, as a draughtsman. At the same time, he continued his studies at Birkbeck Institute, and the City and Guilds Technical College, Finsbury. Two years later he joined Babcock and Wilcox as a draughtsman in their marine department. He soon became manager of the marine department.
In 1897 he left to became general manager of the Lambeth works of Peter Brotherhood and Co. Ltd., but he soon decided to branch out on his own, and went into partnership with his brother-in-law, W. H. Scott, C. Gaskell and others. A works site was purchased in Ipswich.
Reavell and Company Ltd.’s first venture was the ‘Scott’ steam engine, which was very successful, prior to the advent of the high-speed, forced-lubrication engine. The company made its name with the Quadruplex Air Compressor, which Reavell had patented in 1899. The company progressed, building new air compressors as the technology developed. In 1905, they began building three-stage air compressors for direct coupling to the early Diesel engines. They were soon supplying large numbers of compressors for land and marine installations, and for marine propulsion.
Reavell was interested in the work of the British Standards Institution from its early days. He was Chairman of the Keys and Keyways Committee. He became Chairman of the Mechanical Industry Committee in 1920, and stayed in this position until 1944. He was Chairman of the Engineering Divisional Council for several years, and Chairman of the General Council in 1936.
Reavell was President of the IMechE in 1926. He died on 25 April 1948.
1932 - Sir Joseph John Thomson
Sir Joseph John Thomson was born at Cheetham, Manchester, in 1856. At the age of 14 it was decided that he should begin an apprenticeship at the Sharp, Stewart and Company's locomotive works in Glasgow. As the company had a long waiting list for apprenticeships, Thomson was sent to Owens College, Manchester, in the meantime. It was here that his interested in physics was first sparked.
He remained at the college for five years, and during this time he decided to work for a scholarship which would allow him to go to Cambridge. In 1876 he was successful, and in this year he began the connection with Trinity College, Cambridge which lasted the whole of the rest of his life. He graduated second wrangler (the second highest scoring student gaining a first-class honours in the third year of the mathematical tripos) in 1880.
He immediately began work on a dissertation for the fellowship examination on the subject of the nature of energy. He was successful in the fellowship examination, and in 1882 he was appointed to an assistant lectureship in mathematics. At around the same time he began a mathematical investigation on moving charges of electricity.
He was elected to a University Lectureship in 1883. He was chiefly concerned with electrostatics and electromagnetism, as well as dynamics and statics. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1884, and soon afterwards was elected as Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics, in succession to Lord Rayleigh. It was at this point that he was able to begin his long series of investigation into the passage of electricity through gases, for which he is particularly known.
In 1897 he put forward the electronic theory of the constitution of matter which revolutionized existing concepts and opened a vast field of research for which he was peculiarly suited. This theory had a important impact on many different fields of science, including those of optics, thermionics, radioactivity, magnetism and spectroscopy. He wrote six books between 1893 and 1913, which were chiefly concerned with electrical discharges through gas. He also wrote a book of reminiscences called 'Recollections and Reflections' which was published in 1937, a few years before his death.
He was appointed professor of physics at the Royal Institution in 1905, and in the same year was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. He was President of the British Association in 1909, having been a supporter for many years. He was President of the Royal Society between 1915 and 1920.
During the First World War, Thomson served on the Board of Invention and Research instituted by the Admiralty to devise means of detecting submarines and other investigations into aeronautics, marine engineering, anti-aircraft defences and other matters. He was involved with the formation of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and served on its Advisory Committee from its creation in 1915 until 1927.
Thomson was honoured for his work during his lifetime. He was knighted in 1908 and received the Order of Merit in 1912. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1932. He was also an Honorary Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
In 1918 he was appointed Master of Trinity College, Cambridge by the Crown. In order to take up this position he resigned his Cavendish professorship and his professorship at the Royal Institution but in each case he retained the rank of honorary professor. He remained Master of Trinity College until his death on 30 August 1940. In recognition of the value of his work to the nation he is buried in Westminster Abbey.
1932 - Sir James Alfred Ewing
Sir James Alfred Ewing was born in 1855 in Dundee, Scotland. He was awarded the first engineering scholarship to the University of Edinburgh, where he studied under Professor H C Fleeming Jenkin, MIMechE. After graduating he assisted Professor Jenkin and Sir William Thomson, MIMechE. (Lord Kelvin), in their work on submarine telegraphy, and took part in the laying of cables to Brazil and Montevideo.
In 1878, he was appointed professor of mechanical engineering in Tokyo Imperial University. While holding this position he studied seismological phenomena and carried out research in an observatory fitted with instruments he had designed himself, for absolute measurement of earthquakes.
He also began his studies on the molecular theory of magnetism and on hysteresis. He returned in 1883 to become professor of engineering at University College, Dundee, and seven years later became professor of mechanism and applied mathematics at Cambridge. Here he reorganized the general principles of the educational work and was largely instrumental in establishing the engineering tripos. At this time he occupied himself with researches testing the magnetic qualities of iron. He developed several important types of apparatus for measuring permeability and hysteresis.
In 1903 the Admiralty sought his advice on their new scheme of naval education and he was later appointed Director of Naval Education under the scheme. He also became a member of the Explosives committee and of the Ordnance Research Board.
In 1914, after the breakout of WW1, he was instrumental in establishing and developing the office known as “Room 40” at the Admiralty, which was engaged in decoding enemy ciphers. In 1916, he was appointed Principal and Vice- Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, but his work on the admiralty prevented him from taking up his new duties for another year.
After the war, he became increasing occupied with problems of reconstruction at the University of Edinburgh. During his vice-chancellorship thirteen new chairs were established, the training was reorganized, and several new buildings were constructed. In 1923 he became chairman of the Bridge Stress Committee appointed by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. He retired in 1929 and lived at Cambridge, where he turned his attention to the work of the Low Temperature Research Station. He also supervised researches carried out at the National Physical Laboratory on refrigerants, a subject on which he had done valuable work when he was younger, and he was a member of the Committee on the Mechanical Testing of Timber, appointed in 1929. In 1931, he was member of Section G of the British Association and in the following year he delivered his famous presidential address to the same body.
Sir Alfred Ewing’s connection with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers dates back to 1891, when he was elected a Member. He delivered a lecture on “Structure of Metals” to the Graduates’ Section in 1901. In 1914, he presented the Report of the Refrigeration Research Committee, in his capacity as chairman, including an appendix which he had written. From 1915-18 he served on the Council, and in 1932 he was made an Honorary Member. He was made a Freeman of the City of Edinburgh in 1929, and in 1933 he was presented with the Freedom of his native city of Dundee.
He received many honours including Companion of the Bath in 1907 and Knight Commander in 1911. He had been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1887, receiving the Royal Medal eight years later for his research work on magnetism, and he was President of the Royal society of Edinburgh from 1924-29. In addition he was an Honorary Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. He was the author of many papers, especially on magnetism, and of well-known textbooks on the steam engine, thermodynamics, refrigeration, and the strength of materials. He died before he had completed revising his book “Thermodynamics for Engineers,” but the task was finished by A.C.G Egerton, F.R.S.
He died on 7 January 1935.
1933 - Sir Richard William Allen
Richard William Allen was born in Cardiff in 1867. He was educated at Christ College, Finchley, and received his technical education privately. He was apprenticed for four years at the firm of his father, William Henry Allen. At the works in Lambeth, he spent time in the pattern shops, foundry, turnery, erecting shop and drawing office.
After completing his education he spent time as a draughtsman with John Elder and Co., Glasgow, and with the Naval Construction and Armaments Co., Barrow in Furness. After visiting the United States in 1890, he returned to W. H. Allen and Co. as Assistant Manager. In 1894, when the company’s works were transferred to Bedford, he became a partner and subsequently Managing Director. In 1926, on the death of his father, he became Chairman.
He was mainly concerned with the design and construction of auxiliary machinery for naval and mercantile marine vessels, but was also interested in a wide variety of engineering projects on land.
He received the CBE in 1918 and was knighted in 1942.
He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1928. He died in 1955.
1934 - Lord Invernairn of Strathnairn
The Right Honourable Lord Invernairn was born William Beardmore at Greenwich in 1856. He had a great influence upon industry in Glasgow and the west of Scotland generally. Aged 14, William Beardmore joined his father’s company, the Parkhead Forge and served his apprenticeship here.
He went on to study at the Royal School of Mines, South Kensington, and on his return to Parkhead in 1880 became partner in the firm. Six years later, he assumed full control of the company, introduced steel manufacture and initiated the production of heavy armour plate by the Harvey cementation and chilling process. A few years later he developed a successful process of his own for armour plate manufacture, and its value was immediately recognised as valuable by the Admiralty. The firm secured numerous British and American contracts for this product. In 1898 the title of the company was changed to William Beardmore and Company. Lord Invernairn (William Beardmore) became chairman and managing director, holding this post until 1929 when he retired.
In 1905, gun manufacture was introduced at the Parkhead Works and naval guns ranging from 12 pounders to 15 inch guns were made. In 1900, the firm entered the shipbuilding industry by acquiring the shipyard of Robert Napier and Sons, Ltd., at Govan. In 1902 they built their first cruiser, the Berwick, as well as several smaller vessels. But in 1904, the firm bought a 70-acre site at Dalmuir where a complete shipyard, with fitting out basin and engineering works, was laid out, and the shipyard business was transferred from Govan in 1904-5.
At Dalmuir, a long line of notable battleships were constructed, starting with the Agamemnon, which launched in June 1906. Subsequent ships included the Conqueror in 1911, the Benbow in 1913 and the Ramillies in 1916. During the First World War large numbers of destroyers, submarines, and various other naval craft were built. Extensions were also carried out for the construction of oil carriers and general cargo vessels, notably the East Yard at Dalmuir.
During the war, no less than 650 fighting aeroplanes and 73 warships, including the first aeroplane carrier, were built by the firm. Twenty warships were overhauled and refitted. From 1919 onwards, several notable British merchant ships were built, as well as famous Italian liners of the Conte class. Lord Invernairn was also a pioneer in the application of internal combustion engines. He fitted the gun boat Rattler with experimental gas engines in 1907. Later, devoting his attention to the diesel engine, he developed the Beardmore semi-diesel type which his firm supplied to a large number of vessels. Subsequently he manufactured the Franco-Tosi type of engine, under licence. Extensive airship works at Inchinnan were established where, amongst others, Lord Invernairn constructed the airship R34, which was famous as the first airship to make the double Atlantic crossing. He established several other works including, the Mossend steel works, the Speedwell engine works at Coatbridge, and works at Paisley, Anniesland, and Dumfries. In recognition of his national services he was created a baronet in 1914. He was raised to the peerage, and took the title of Lord Invernairn of Strathnairn.
His association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers extended over forty-nine years. He was elected a member in 1887 and was made an Honorary Life Member in 1934. He contributed two papers to the Proceedings, ‘The Heat Treatment of Large Forgings’ and ‘Sugar Machinery’. He was also president of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1918, and was a Member of the Institution of Naval Architects.
He died on 10 April 1936.
1934 - Loughnan St. Lawrence Pendred
Loughnan St. Lawrence Pendred was born in London in 1870. He was educated privately, and received his technical education at the Central Institution, South Kensington, and Finsbury Technical College. He served an apprenticeship with Davey Paxman and Company of Colchester.
He then travelled in Europe, spending time at the works of Van den Kerchove, Ghent, and the old Chemin de Fer de L’Ouest in France. He returned to England in 1893.
In 1896, Pendred joined the editorial staff of the Engineer, where his father, Vaughan Pendred, was editor-in-chief. In 1905 he succeeded his father as editor-in-chief, and remained in this position for over 40 years. He was succeeded in 1946 by his son.
During the First World War, at the request of the Government, Pendred edited the Ministry of Munitions Journal. He was awarded the CBE in 1934.
Pendred was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1930, and was made an Honorary Member in 1934. He was also President of the Institution of Engineers-in-Charge. He was a founder member of the Newcomen Society, and served as President of the Society in 1923 and 1930. He died in 1953.
1934 - Professor Sir Thomas Hudson Beare
Professor Sir Thomas Hudson Beare is well-known for his great work for engineering education in general and in particular for his remarkable achievements in the organization of the Edinburgh University Engineering Building. He was born in 1859, in Adelaide, South Australia, and in 1875 he joined the Public Works Department. After completing a University course at Melbourne, where he graduated in 1879, he obtained a scholarship which enabled him to come to England.
He became a student at University College, London, under Professor Kennedy. During the next three years, he was awarded a Gilchrist Engineering Scholarship, and subsequently gained his B.Sc. degree. Shortly afterwards he became an assistant to Professor Kennedy in his private consulting practice, but in addition he was a demonstrator in the engineering laboratory at University College. In 1887, however, he was appointed the first professor of Applied Mechanics and Engineering at Heriot-Watt College, Edinburgh, and immediately began equipping the first engineering laboratory in Scotland. Two years later he succeeded Professor Kennedy at University College, and again he was instrumental in obtaining new equipment and carrying out many improvements at the Engineering School of that college. He returned to Edinburgh in 1901 when he was appointed Regius Professor of Engineering. He took a leading part in the layout of the Sanderson Engineering Laboratory at West Mains. In 1906, he initiated the establishment of teaching and research programmes. In 1914, he became Dean of the Faculty of Science and was a member of the governing body of the Edinburgh University for 28 years. He was knighted in 1926, in recognition of his valuable educational work. In 1936, he was awarded the honorary degree of LL.D. by Edinburgh University, as a tribute to his work there.
Sir Thomas, who was elected a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1893, provided many valuable services to its activities in engineering research and education. He was a Member of the Marine Engine Trials Committee and the Steam Jacket Research Committee, contributing many papers to the latter. In 1936, his biographical paper on James Watt was published in the Proceedings. In addition, he presided over the Joint Committee with the Scottish Education Department on National Certificates. Sir Thomas was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution in 1934. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
He also had a keen interest in military affairs. He served with the Adelaide Rifle Corps in his school days, and many years later became captain in the Fourth Volunteer Division of the Royal Engineers. He was an original member of the committee which started the Edinburgh and East of Scotland Territorial Force Association, which later became the Territorial and Air Force Association, and in 1936 he acted as its chairman.
In addition he was one of the representatives for Scotland on the War Office commission which moved the formation of the Officers’ Training Corps. He was also chairman of the Edinburgh University Military Education Committee. He had a great interest in the work of the Miners’ Welfare Commission, of which he was an original member. He was an active member of the British Association for nearly forty years. From 1894 to 1900 he was Recorder for Section G, and in 1922 he was President of that section.
He died on 10 June 1940.
1934 - Sir William Bragg
William Henry Bragg was born in 1862 near Wigton in Cumbria. He was educated at King William's College on the Isle of Man, and gained a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1884, he graduated Third Wrangler, the third highest scoring student gaining a first-class honours in the third years of the mathematical tripos.
Soon after graduating, he was appointed Professor of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Adelaide. After a few years in Australia, he became acquainted with Sir Charles Todd, Postmaster-General and Astronomer Royal for South Australia. Todd had erected a transcontinental telegraph, and had been experimenting with wireless telegraphy. Bragg began experimenting with X-rays at this time. Early in the twentieth century, he turned his attention to radioactivity, presenting his first paper on the subject in 1906.
He was appointed to the Cavendish Chair at the University of Leeds in 1909. Here he carried out further experimentation on ionization in relation to X-rays. As a result, he devised the first spectrometer for X-rays. His son, then Sir W L Bragg, joined him in his research. They were soon able to announce the principles of X-ray spectroscopy, and were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1915.
In the same year, Bragg was appointed Quain Professor of Physics at University College, London, but he was prevented from taking it up by the outbreak of the First World War. During this time, Bragg worked for the Admiralty at Ardour and Harwich, working on anti-submarine devices and technology for the detection of submarines. In 1918 he returned to London as consultant to the Admiralty. He was awarded the CBE in 1917 and created KBE in 1920 in recognition of his war work.
Following the end of the war, Bragg took up his position at UCL. In 1923, he was appointed Director of the Royal Institution, Fulllerian Professor of Chemistry, Royal Institution and Director of the Davy-Faraday Laboratory. He presented the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Thomas Hawksley Lecture in 1927, on 'The application of X-rays to the study of the crystalline structure of materials.', and in his presentation of papers at the Royal Institution and elsewhere, he was famed for his ability to convey complex scientific phenomenon to a wide range of audiences, including the layman. In 1931 he was awarded the OM. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1934.
Bragg was elected President of the Royal Society in 1935, holding the position until 1940. He was made a member of the Advisory Council for Scientific Research in 1937, and continued to work as Director of the Royal Institution until his death on 12 March 1942.
1934 - Ernest Rutherford, Lord Rutherford of Nelson
Ernest Rutherford was born near Nelson, New Zealand, in 1871. After winning a scholarship to attend a private secondary school, Nelson Collegiate School, he won another scholarship which allowed him to study at Canterbury College, Christchurch. After completing his three-year course, a further scholarship allowed him to remain at Canterbury for a further two years postgraduate study, the final year of which saw him carrying out independent research. In 1894 he was awarded a scholarship by the Commissioners of the 1851 Exhibition to come to England, where he studied at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, under Professor Joseph John Thomson.
His early work was the investigation of the effect of oscillating currents upon a highly magnetized needle, which he used to design a detector of electric waves. Around 1897 he began work on radioactivity, stimulated by Thomson's experiments on electrical discharges through gases. He extended this work to include the ionization of gases produced by X-rays, and the radioactive effects produced by the rays discovered by Becquerel.
In 1898 Rutherford was appointed Macdonald Professor of Physics at McGill University, Montreal, which at the time had one of the best laboratories in the world. His work here led to the concept of half-life and radioactive decay. In collaboration with Frederick Soddy he developed the transformation theory as an explanation for radioactivity. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1908 for his work at McGill.
He returned to England in 1907 to take up the Langworthy Chair of Physics at the University of Manchester, and it was here he carried out important experimental work into atomic work. In collaboration with Hans Geiger he developed an electrical counter for ionized particles. Once perfect by Geiger, the Geiger Counter became the standard means of measuring radioactivity. In 1911, after surprising experimental results, Rutherford conceived that the atom must consist mostly of empty space with its mass densely concentrated in a tiny nucleus, completely changing the accepted understanding of atomic and nuclear physics.
During the First World War Rutherford was involved in antisubmarine research. He also served as a member of the Admiralty’s Board of Invention and Research. When he was able to find the time he returned to his research in the collision of alpha particles with gas. In 1919 he realized that he had artificially stimulated a nuclear reaction in a stable element and this important discovery dominated his research for the rest of his career. In the same year he was appointed director of the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, where he succeeded Thomson.
Rutherford was knighted in 1914 and awarded the Order of Merit in 1925. He was created Baron Rutherford of Nelson, of Cambridge, in 1931. He served as President of the Royal Society from 1925 to 1930, and in 1927 was appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Royal Institution. He delivered the 19th Thomas Hawksley Lecture of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1932, on ‘Atomic projectiles and their applications’. He was made an Honorary Member in 1934.
Lord Rutherford died in 1937 and in recognition of the value of his work to the nation he is buried in Westminster Abbey.
1935 - Lt. Colonel Edwin Kitson Clark
Lt. Colonel E. Kitson Clark was born in 1866. He attended Sutton Valence Grammar School, moving to Shrewsbury in 1882. He then attended Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1888.
He then began his engineering education with a three year apprenticeship at the Airedale Foundry of Kitson and Co., the company which had been founded by his grandfather, James Kitson, in 1837. In 1891 he was made assistant works manager. He was later appointed works manager, and in 1897 he was made a partner in the firm. When the firm became a limited company, he became a director, and later Chairman.
He was associated with several major developments, including the Kitson-Meyer articulated locomotive for steep gradients and sharp curves, and the Kitson-Still locomotive, in which steam and Diesel propulsion were combined.
Besides his engineering career, he was also a second lieutenant in the 8th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Leeds Rifles), and served in the West Riding Territorial Army and Air Force Association from its inception. He also played an important role in the establishment of Leeds University Officer Training Corps. During the First World War, he was on active service. From 1913 to 1915 he was the Commanding Officer of the 8th Battalion, and from 1915-1918 he was in charge of the 49th Base Depot in France.
Kitson-Clark was also keenly interested in archaeology and, unusually for an engineer, was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities. He was President of Leeds Thoresby (antiquarian) Society, and of the Leeds Civic Society. For over thirty years he was secretary of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. He also took a keen interest in Leeds Parish Church, and was an authority on its history.
He played an important role in the history of the IMechE. In 1921 he took a leading role in the formation of the Yorkshire Branch, becoming its first chairman. He was President in 1931. In 1935, he was elected an Honorary Life Member. He was also President of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1921-1922.
He died aged 77 on 31 March 1943.
1935 - Colonel Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton
Rookes Evelyn Bell Crompton was born in 1845 at Sion Hill, near Thirsk. When he was 11 he went with his father to Gibraltar, and soon afterwards became midshipman in HMS Dragon. He was in the firing line in the Crimea, and was present at the fall of Sebastopol. He was later awarded the Crimean Medal and the Sebastopol Clasp.
When he returned to England, he completed his education at Harrow, then underwent a short apprenticeship at the Doncaster works of the Great Northern Railway. In 1864 he was gazetted as an ensign in the Rifle Brigade, and was posted to the staff of the Commander-in-Chief in India. He soon began experimenting with steam traction on roads, and in 1870 he inaugurated the Government Steam Train under the director-general of the Post Office.
He returned to England in 1875, and the following year went into partnership with T H P Dennis and Company, of Colchester. He also acted as a consulting engineer, and designed steam-driven tramcars with P W Willans. In 1877, Crompton became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
He first became involved with electrical engineering in 1879, when he founded his firm in Chelmsford. For the next thirty years he carried out pioneering work in this area, and was responsible for important developments in electric lighting plant and dynamo design. He introduced lighting by incandescent electric lamps, which were first installed in the Royal Courts of Justice.
During the 1890s Crompton worked with J C Howell on a new type of electric battery. He went to India in 1896 to advise the Indian Government on the preparation of an Electric Lighting Act. He took a leading part in the formation of a Corps of Electrical Engineers for the Army, and commanded the unit during the South Africa War. He was made a Companion of the Bath for this work. Early in the Twentieth century he was asked to reorganize the Mechanical Transport Corps.
He continued to take an interest in motor traction, and was a founder member of the Royal Automobile Club, and served as first President of the Institution of Automobile Engineers. His investigation into the condition of road surfaces led to the formation of the Road Board, of which he was the first engineer.
During the First World War Crompton was a member of a committee appointed in 1915 by Winston Churchill, to devise mechanically propelled vehicles for crossing trenches. The result of this committee was the tank. Crompton, together with L A Legros, played an important part in the development of the tank. He also served on a Ministry of Munitions committee set up to advise on the interchangeability of screw gauges for shells, fuses and other materials. Standardization had long been an interest of his. He also worked to improve standard screw threads, and with Mr Clements, designed a new screw thread, the British Standard Fine.
Crompton was twice President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and served on the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was also President of the Junior Institution of Engineers. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1933, and in 1935 was made an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He died on 15 February 1940.
1936 - Alexander Augustus Cambridge, Earl of Athlone
Alexander Augustus Frederick William Alfred George Cambridge was born on 14 April 1874 at Kensington Palace. He was the third son of Francis, Duke of Teck and was brother to the future Queen Mary. He was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 7th Hussars in 1894. He served in the Matabele Campaign of 1896–97 and transferred to the Inniskilling Dragoons to serve in the Boer War.
He married Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline, daughter of Queen Victoria’s fourth son, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. They had a daughter and two sons, one of whom died at only six months, the other in a motoring accident in 1928.
In 1904 he joined the Horse Guards, transferring, at the request of the King George V, to the 2nd Life Guards in 1911 with the rank of Major. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath at the Coronation that year. He was nominated Governor-General of Canada in 1914, but did not take up the Appointment due to the outbreak of the First World War. He was attached to the British military mission to Belgium, and was promoted to General Staff Officer Grade 1, with the rank of Brigadier-General in 1915. He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1917, and that same year, in accordance with policy, he renounced his German titles and the family name of Teck, taking the family name of Cambridge and the title Earl of Athlone.
He was appointed chairman of a committee to investigate the needs of medical practitioners in 1921. The Athlone Committee produced a report which recommended the establishment of a medical school to promote postgraduate instruction and medical research. The resulting school, subsequently attached to Hammersmith Hospital, became one of the most famous institutions of its kind in the world.
In 1923 he was appointed Governor-General of the Union of South Africa, and High Commissioner, arriving in South Africa in time to open Parliament in January 1924. This was a difficult time in South Africa, and antagonism between the British and the Afrikaners was inflamed by a Nationalist proposal to adopt a new flag for the Union which omitted anything symbolic of the British connection. He worked quietly to soothe and reconcile animosities, and his patience, courtesy, and tact won the respect of all parties.
He returned to England in 1931 and was appointed Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle, becoming a member of the Privy Council. In 1940 he was appointed Governor-General of Canada, where he served a successful five-year term, travelling extensively to attend troop reviews and munitions factories. He returned to Britain in 1936, where he continued to take an active interest in national affairs, and especially in the Dominions and foreign and Colonial affairs.
He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1936.
He died on 16 January 1957 at Kensington Palace at the age of 82.
1936 - David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford and Balcarres
David Alexander Edward Lindsay, Twenty-seventh Earl of Crawford and Tenth Earl of Balcarres was born on 10 October 1871 at Dunecht House, Aberdeen. He was the eldest of six sons of James Ludovic Lindsay, Twenty-sixth Earl of Crawford and Ninth Earl of Balcarres and his wife Emily. He was educated at Eton and at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he gained a Third in history and was secretary, treasurer, and President of the Oxford Union. Afterwards he worked at the Oxford House university settlement in Bethnal Green, under the auspices of the Charity Organization Society.
An old Fife family, the Lindsays' home had been at Haigh Hall, Wigan, since the 1790s, and in June 1985 he was elected unopposed as the Conservative MP for the Chorley division of Lancashire, where Haigh Hall was situated. He held the seat until 1913 when he succeeded to the peerage. Heir to the chairmanship of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company, he also inherited valuable collections built up by his father and grandfather – the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, the last great private library in the UK.
In Parliament he took an early interest in the arts. His interventions led to the creation of the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899, and in 1900 he introduced the Ancient Monuments Protection Act. In 1903 he became a party whip, being promoted to chief whip in July 1911, handling skilfully the bitter divisions over the Parliament Bill and the succession of Andrew Bonar-Law. An ardent diarist, his habit of writing detailed notes within minutes of political conversations make his diaries, published in 1984, an unrivalled source of historical information about both these events and Tory politics generally in the period before the First World War.
In 1913 he succeeded as Twenty-seventh Earl of Crawford and Tenth Earl of Balcarres. In 1915 he enlisted as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, giving a false age, but only months later, in 1916, he was summoned to become President of the Board of Agriculture, later Lord Privy Seal with responsibility for the Wheat Commission. Between 1919 and 1921, as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, he brought bread supplies back to normal. He was appointed the first Commissioner of Works in 1921, adding Minister of Transport to his responsibilities in 1922. With the fall of the Coalition Government he retired from front-bench politics at the age of 52.
He was a trustee of both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, and was chairman of the National Art Collections Fund. In 1923 he became Chancellor of Manchester University and was a trustee of the British Museum. He was Chairman of the Royal Fine Arts Commission in 1924, and in 1925 he chaired the Crawford Committee on broadcasting, which recommended the establishment of the BBC as a public monopoly. He chaired the Royal Literary Fund and was Chairman of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in and its President from 1924 to 1929.
He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1936.
He died on 8 March 1940 at Haigh Hall at the age of 68.
1936 - Edward George Villiers Stanley, Earl of Derby
Edward George Villiers Stanley was born on 4 April 1865 at 23 St James’s Square, London. He was the eldest son of Frederick Arthur Stanley, who became Sixteenth Earl of Derby in 1893, and his wife, Lady Constance Villiers. He was educated at Wellington College, and joined the Grenadier Guards in 1885 as a Lieutenant.
He was Aide-de-Camp to the Governor General of Canada, his father, between 1888 and 1891. He fought in the second Boer War between 1899 and 1900, when he became private secretary to the Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces in South Africa.
He entered parliament as Conservative MP for Westhoughton in 1892, and served under Lord Salisbury as a Lord of the Treasury between 1895 and 1900, and under Salisbury and later Arthur Balfour as Financial Secretary of the War Office between 1901 and 1903. He entered the cabinet as Postmaster General in 1903, a post he held until Balfour’s Government fell at the end of 1905. He failed to retain his own seat in the House of Commons in the election of 1906, but when he succeeded his father to the Earldom in 1908 he was able to take his seat in the House of Lords.
In Liverpool in August 1914 he organized an extremely successful recruiting campaign for Kitchener’s Army, and in October 1915, as Director-General of Recruiting, he instituted the Derby Scheme, a kind of halfway-house between voluntary enlistment and conscription, which the Government was reluctant to adopt, although it eventually had to do so in 1916. He returned to the Government in July 1916 as Under-Secretary of State for War, being promoted to Secretary of State for War later the same year. In 1918 he was made Ambassador to France, remaining in that post until 1920. Between 1922 and 1924 he again served as Secretary of State for War under both Andrew Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin.
He was a Privy Councillor and was the recipient of many awards and honours, including Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1908, Knight of the Garter in 1915 and Knight Grand Cross of the Bath in 1920. He was Lord Mayor of Liverpool between 1911 and 1912, and was Honorary President of the Rugby Football league, donating the Lord Derby Cup. He was Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire between 1928 and 1948.
He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1936.
He followed in the family tradition, and was one of the most prominent owner-breeders of racehorses in the first half of the 20th century, winning, amongst many others, the Epsom Derby (three times), the St Leger Stakes (six times), and the 1000 Guineas (seven times).
On 5 January 1889 he married Lady Alice Maude Olive Montagu, daughter of the Seventh Duke of Manchester. They had two sons and a daughter.
He died on 4 February 1948 at Knowsley Hall, Lancashire at the age of 82.
1936 - William Taylor
William Taylor was born in Hackney in 1865. He served his apprenticeship from 1880 to 1885 with Paterson and Cooper, electrical engineers and scientific instrument makers. He also studied electrical engineering at the City and Guilds of London Technical College at Finsbury.
After further experience with Paterson and Cooper, mainly in the design and installation of electric lighting plants, he joined his brother, an optician, in Leicester. They founded the company of Taylor, Taylor and Hobson in 1886. William’s intention had always been to apply mechanical engineering principles to the different processes involved in making lenses. He made a comprehensive study of these methods, and embodied the results in production machines of his own design. Some of his earliest inventions were related to engraving machines and appliances for the mathematical division of lines and circles. His most important work was relating to the screw thread. He was made a member of the Engineering Standards Committee on screw threads and limit gauges and of the British Association Small Screw Gauge Committee.
During the First World War, Taylor designed machines for the accurate polishing of lenses, and made it possible to produce large numbers of such lenses for binoculars. He also devised new methods of lens manufacture for aerial photography, and produced lenses for range finders, gun sights, and telescopes. He was awarded the OBE for his services. After the war he was responsible for the manufacture of special photographic lenses for cinematograph cameras. He was known as an expert in the field, and was often consulted on photographic problems.
He served on the Council of the National Physical Laboratory and on the Sectional Committees on Optical Instruments and Optical Instrument Standards of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1934.
He was President of the IMechE in 1932, and was made an Honorary Life Member in 1936.
He died on 28 February 1937.
1936 - James Ramsay MacDonald
James Ramsay MacDonald was born on 12 October 1866 in a two-roomed ‘but and ben’ cottage in Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland. He was the illegitimate son of Anne Ramsay, a farm servant, and John MacDonald, a ploughman on the same farm. Known throughout his life as James Ramsay MacDonald, his birth certificate describes him as ‘James MacDonald Ramsay, child of Anne Ramsay’. He was raised by his mother and grandmother, and was educated at the Free Church of Scotland School in Lossiemouth and from 1875 at the Drainie School, where in 1881 he became a pupil teacher. He spent a short time in Bristol in 1885, as an assistant to a clergyman, where he became involved in radical politics, returning briefly to Lossiemouth, before moving to London in 1886.
In London he found employment as an invoice clerk, and became involved once more in radical politics. In 1888 he became private secretary to Thomas Lough who was elected Liberal MP for Islington in 1892. He left Lough’s employ that year, having gained valuable experience in electioneering. In 1894 he joined Kier Hardie’s Independent Labour Party (ILP), standing unsuccessfully as an ILP candidate in Southampton in 1895. He stood again in Leicester in 1900, but was again defeated. That year he became secretary of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), forerunner of the Labour Party, and successfully negotiated an agreement with Herbert Gladstone which allowed the LRC to contest a number of working class seats without Liberal opposition. In 1906 the LRC changed its name to the Labour Party, absorbing the ILP, and Macdonald, along with 28 others was elected to Parliament, these MPs undoubtedly owing their election to the ‘progressive alliance’ between the Liberal and Labour Parties.
A committed pacifist, when the Labour Party supported the Government in the First World War, he resigned as its Chairman, becoming Treasurer instead. However, despite his opposition to the War he still visited the front in December 1914, where he behaved with great aplomb under fire, although he never made any reference to this himself.
He lost his seat in the ‘coupon election’ of 1918, which saw the Liberal Coalition Government of Lloyd George win a large majority. He returned to Parliament as MP for Aberavon in Wales in the election of 1922 and was elected Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, so becoming leader of the opposition. By now he was moving to a more centrist position, and strongly opposed the wave of radicalism that swept through the Labour Party in the wake of the Russian Revolution. He was a determined enemy of communism. At the 1923 election the Conservatives lost their overall majority, and MacDonald became the first Labour Prime Minister, with the support of the Asquith Liberals. His Government was only to last nine months, and did not have a majority in either house, but was able to procure a number of benefits for the unemployed and the low paid. It was also able to achieve a measure of agreement on the German reparations issue in the London Settlement. However, problems associated with relations with Russia and the failure to prosecute a left-wing newspaper in the ‘Campbell Case’ precipitated a General Election, and the ‘Zinoviev Letter’, published by the Daily Mail just four days before the poll, sealed the Government’s fate. However, the result was not a complete disaster for the Labour Party, as they replaced the Liberals as the main opposition party to the Conservatives.
In the election of May 1929 Labour won the largest number of seats and formed a Government with the tacit support of the Lloyd George Liberals. In a stronger position than in 1924, he was able to raise unemployment pay, improve wages and conditions in the coal industry, and pass a Housing Act which focused on slum clearance. However, his government had no effective response to the stock market crash of 1929, and by the end of 1930 unemployment had doubled to over two-and-a-half million. During 1931 the economic situation worsened, and the May Report of July 1931 recommended large public sector pay cuts and large cuts in public spending, notably unemployment benefit. The alternative, proposed by the economist John Maynard Keynes, was a sharp devaluation of Sterling. The Cabinet was split over these proposals, and MacDonald resigned on 24 August, forming a National Government with the Conservatives and the Liberals. As a consequence of this perceived betrayal, MacDonald was expelled from the Labour Party, along with cabinet colleagues Philip Snowden and J. H. Thomas. The Conservatives forced a General Election in 1931, the National Government winning a huge majority, overwhelmingly Conservative. Although MacDonald was still Prime Minister, he was overshadowed by the Conservatives Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain. Ineffective at home, he continued, nevertheless, to lead important British delegations overseas, including to the Geneva Disarmament and the Lausanne Conferences in 1932, and the Stresa Conference in 1935.
By 1935 his health was in decline and he agreed to stand down as Prime Minister, resigning in June 1935 in favour of Stanley Baldwin. He lost his Seaham seat to Emmanuel ’Manny’ Shinwell in January 1936, the year in which he was elected Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
He married Margaret Gladstone – no relation to the Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone – in 1896, and they had six children.
He died on 9 November 1937 aboard the liner Reina del Pacifico.
1937 - Alan Ernest Leofric Chorlton
Alan E L Chorlton CBE was born at Audenshaw, near Manchester, in 1874. He attended a private school, and then entered the Manchester Technical School, in the Mechanical Engineering Department. He began an apprenticeship at the Salford Iron Works of Mather and Platt Ltd. As well as the usual turning and fitting shop experience, he also worked in the foundry and smithy. At the same time he attended part-time at the Victoria University.
He was for years a member of the team of one of the major Manchester rugby clubs, and was selected for the Lancashire team.
At 24 he was sent to report on the engineering side of Hubbard’s works near St Petersburg, which was at the time the largest textile printing works in the world. He was then employed to implement the changes recommended, resulting in a fuel economy of 30 per cent, as well as greater reliability.
On his return he was made assistant works manager of Salford Iron Works, becoming general works manager at 28 years old. Four years later he was made director. While in Russia his attention was drawn to the high efficiency of the Sulzer turbine pump, and on his return he took a leading part in the remodelling of the Mather-Reynolds pump then being made by the firm.
In 1913, he left to join Ruston and Hornsby Ltd., of Lincoln, Grantham and Stockport, taking a prominent part during the First World War in the extension of their activities. He was appointed Deputy Controller of Aero-engines in the Ministry of Munitions, and was a member of the Board of Inventions. After the end of the war he was on the Bankers’ Committee, and a member of the reconstruction committees. He was awarded the CBE for his services throughout the war.
From 1918 to 1928 he worked with William Beardmore and Co. Ltd. During this time he introduced the high-speed Diesel engine to the country, designing engines for rail-cars in the US and Canada, and which were also fitted on the R101 airship.
On retirement from William Beardmore and Co. Ltd., Chorlton went into politics, representing the Platting Division from 1931, and Bury up to 1945, when he retired.
He was President of the IMechE in 1933. He died in 1946.
1937 - Frederick Howard Livens
Frederick Howard Livens was born in 1854. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to the firm of Marshall Sons and Company Limited, of Gainsborough. During his apprenticeship he gained a Whitworth Scholarship. After completing his pupilship he spent a year in the firm's drawing office.
In 1876 he joined the firm of Rushton Proctor and Company as chief draughtsman. He became chief engineer in 1897, a director in 1899 and vice-chairman in 1929. He retired in 1931. During these years he was involved with the design and construction of a variety of plant, particularly steam and oil engines, pumping plant and excavating machinery. During the First World War he was responsible for the invention and development of a flame thrower, along with Captain Livens, his son.
Livens became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1890. He became a member of Council in 1921, and served as Vice President from 1929 to 1936. A year later he was elected an Honorary Member. He was also a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and was an honorary member of the Junior Institution of Engineers.
In addition to his engineering interests he was active in local affairs, serving as Sheriff of Lincoln in 1901, and chairman of the Education, Draining and other municipal committees. He was a Justice of the Peace, and served as chairman of the governors of the Lincoln Municipal Technical School.
Livens died on 30 October 1948.
1937 - Dr Alex Dow
Alex Dow was born in Glasgow on 12 April 1862. He attended board schools for six years, but had to seek employment at the age of 11. He worked as a messenger boy, junior clerk and stenographer at a railway office for six years. At the age of 17 he found employment with the Cunard Steamship Line at Liverpool.
He moved to the United States in 1882, and found work with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. He then became supervisor of local line and instrument maintenance of the Baltimore and Ohio Telegraph Company. He moved to Chicago in 1888, where he was in charge of the Chicago office of the Brush Electric Company, which installed and operated arc lighting systems. He was responsible for the design ad construction of the South Park system in Chicago, requiring about 30 miles of underground cables. He was employed as consulting engineer by the City of Detroit from 1893, which was then installing a municipal lighting system.
He became an American citizen in 1895 and the following year he became vice-president and general manager of the Edison Illuminating Company, Detroit. When the Detroit Edison Company was formed in 1903, Dow continued as vice-president and general manager, becoming president in 1912. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1940, and during that time insisted on a reliable electric service at fair rates, thus playing an important role in the growth of the city. Dow introduced many important practices and technologies, including the distant-controlled rotary converter; the Wright demand meter and the building of generating plants near the load centres with high voltage distribution to substations.
Alex Dow was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1937. He was also a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. He retired from his position as President of the Detroit Edison Company in 1940, and became Chairman of its Executive Committee. He died on 22 March 1942.
1937 - Sir James Fortescue Flannery
James Fortescue Flannery was born on 16 December 1851 in Liverpool, the son of Captain John Flannery of Seacombe. He was educated at the Liverpool College of Science, and at Victoria University.
After working in Birkenhead in marine engineering he was engaged by Sir Edward Reid, Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy. His successful career as a marine engineer and naval architect culminated in him becoming the head of the Flannery, Baggally & Johnson Marine Engineering Company, which opened offices in Liverpool, in London, and in Rotterdam.
He was a Director of the London and South Western Bank, and between 1900 and 1906 he was President of the Railway Clerks’ Association. He was President of the Institution of Marine Engineers in 1914, and later he became President of the Society of Consulting Engineers in 1931. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1937.
He was a Justice of the Peace for Surrey in 1892, for Kent in 1895, and for Essex in 1904. He was knighted in 1899, and he was created a Baronet in 1904, of Wethersfield Manor, in Essex.
He was first elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Shipley in West Yorkshire in the General Election of 1895, a seat which he held until the General Election of 1906. He subsequently returned to Parliament in January 1910 as the Conservative member for Maldon in Essex. He successfully fought this constituency as a Coalition Conservative candidate in 1918, but he did not stand as a candidate in the General Election of 1922.
In 1892 he married Edith Mary Emma, daughter of Osborn Jenkyn of Ealing, and they had a son and two daughters.
He died on 5 October 1943 at Wethersfield Manor, Essex, at the age of 91.
1937 - Dr Frederick William Lanchester
Frederick William Lanchester, also known as Paul Netherton-Herries when publishing poetry, was born on 23 October 1868 in Lewisham, London. He was the son of Henry Jones Lanchester and his wife Octavia, née Ward. The family moved to Brighton, where he won a scholarship to the Hartley Institution in Southampton and then on to what is now the Royal College of Science and the Royal College of Mines in London. He also attended classes at the Finsbury Technical School, although he abandoned his education before he attained any formal qualifications.
He began work with the Forward Gas Engine Company of Birmingham 1888, and within six months he had invented the ‘pendulum governor’ to control engine speed. This was followed by his ‘gas engine starter’, subsequently sold to the Crossley Gas Engine Company. In 1892 he designed and built the world’s first direct-coupled engine–dynamo installation, which was used to light the Company’s offices. He left the company the following year.
In 1895 he built the first all-British motorboat, using an engine of his own design driving a rear-mounted paddle wheel. He then went on to design his first motor car, a four-wheel model built at his workshop at Saltley in Birmingham. A later design won the Gold Medal at the Automobile Exhibition and Trials in Richmond in 1989, and was known subsequently as the ‘Gold Medal Phaeton’. The Lanchester Engine Company was formed, with premises in Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Here he designed and built a 10hp twin-cylinder engine for a new car launched in 1901 and remaining in production until 1905. After the company went bankrupt, and was re-formed as the Lanchester Motor Company, he resigned, becoming a consultant and technical adviser. He was already a consultant to the Daimler Motor Company, later the Birmingham Small Arms Company, for whom he designed a double-decker bus.
He was very interested in powered flight, although in 1897 his paper ‘The soaring of birds and the possibilities of mechanical flight’ was rejected by the Physical Society, being too advanced for its time. In 1907 he published a two-volume work, Aerial Flight, which included the first full descriptions of lift and drag; this work, too, was ahead of its time. From 1909 he was a consultant to the White and Thompson aeroplane concern, developing many innovative features for their biplanes. In 1909 he was also appointed to the Royal Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, where he was a strong advocate of the future role of aircraft in warfare, publishing his views in his book Aircraft in Warfare: the Dawn of the Fourth Arm in 1916.
From the 1920s he was a consultant for a number of companies, including Lanchester, Wolseley, and Beardmore, and also for Sir Malcolm Campbell on his ‘Bluebird’ record-breaking car. In 1925 he founded a new company – Lanchester’s Laboratories Ltd, to promote some of his other inventions, including high quality sound-reproducing systems.
Under the pseudonym Paul Netherton-Herries he published two volumes of poetry.
In 1919 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Birmingham University, and in 1922 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, receiving their Ewing Gold Medal in1941, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, receiving their Gold Medal in 1926. He was an associate member of the Institution of Naval Architects, and he received the American Guggenheim Gold Medal in 1931. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1937, and was awarded the James Watt International Medal in 1945.
In 1919 he married Dorothea Cooper, and from 1924 they lived in the house he designed himself – Dyott End – in Oxford Road, Moseley. They had no children.
He died on 8 March 1946 at Dyott End at the age of 77.
1938 - Charles Day
Charles Day was born at Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, in 1867. He was educated at the Stockport Grammar School, and later attended the Manchester Technical School. At the age of 18 he received a Whitworth Scholarship, and attended further evening classes in electrical engineering, and a summer evening course at Owens College in industrial chemistry. He served an apprenticeship in engineering with Emerson Murgatroyd and Co., Stockport, and J and H Andrew and Co., makers of the ‘Stockport’ gas engine.
At 23 he was appointed chief draughtsman at the boiler works of Joseph Adamson and Co., Ltd., Hyde. Later he moved to the National Boiler Insurance Company Ltd., where he started a branch for dealing with the insurance of steam engines. Whilst with this company, Day wrote articles for The Practical Engineer on the subject of ‘The Testing of Engines and Boilers’, and also a book on ‘Indicator Diagrams’.
His work on engine testing brought him into contact with Cole Marchent and Morley Ltd., Bradford, who had taken up the manufacture of Corliss-type steam engines. He joined that firm as manager in 1895. In 1899 he visited the United States, where the horizontal Corliss-type steam engine had been widely adopted for direct-driven dynamos used to supply current to tramways.
In 1902 he joined the Mirrlees Watson Company, Ltd., Glasgow, as general manager. This company had acquired Diesel’s patents and designs, and an engine had been built in 1897 and officially tested by Professor Watkinson of the Liverpool University. This was the first Diesel engine built in Britain, and the third in the world. Owing to technical difficulties, the project had been abandoned, but Day visited Augsburg to study the developments that had been made in Germany, and work recommenced. A number of improvements were introduced, and two additional engines were produced to the latest drawings. A Diesel engine department was established. In 1905, engines were supplied to the Admiralty for HMS Dreadnought. These engines, running at 400 rpm, were the earliest high-speed Diesels. At the same time a lighter engine was also supplied to pinnace propulsion. By 1906 the Diesel engine business had developed to such an extent that it was necessary to expand, and in 1907 a new company was formed at Stockport for the manufacture of Mirrlees Diesel engines, in a newly built and equipped works. This company was set up in association with HN Bickerton, and was named Mirrlees Bickerton and Day, Ltd. In 1926 the two companies amalgamated, and Day became managing director, later chairman, of both companies. He resigned in 1946, at the age of 79, but continued as a director, and still took an active part in the business until his death.
During the First World War, Day served on the Lancashire Anti-submarine Committee, which included many prominent Lancashire engineers and scientists, and pioneered submarine detection. He was also a leading member of the Associated Group of Tank Engine Builders, which carried out valuable work in connection with the development and construction of tank engines during the war. The group was composed of the principal firms of engine builders in the Manchester area.
In the Second World War he was intensively engaged in the organization of production to deal with the heavy demands for Diesel engines for war service, aircraft parts, guns, and also the ‘Imo-oil’ pumps for submarines, etc.
As a young man, Day was a keen swimmer, being Captain of the Stockport Swimming Club. He also attended the Lads’ Club where he practiced boxing and other sports. He was a member of the Stockport Golf Club for many years, and a Life Member and joint founder of the West Bowling Golf Club, Bradford. He was fond of gardening and was a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society.
He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and he was later elected an Honorary Life Member. He died on 18th June 1949, at the age of 82.
1938 - Herbert Austin, Lord Austin of Longridge
Herbert Austin was born at Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, in 1866. He was a pupil at Brampton College and Rotherham Grammar School. In 1882 he went to Australia, where he served an apprenticeship with the Longlands Foundry Company and Richard Parks and Company in Melbourne. During this time he also attended technical classes at Melbourne Municipal School.
He soon became works manager to Richard Parks and Company, before moving to become engineer to Wolseley, who was developing a machine to shear sheep. Austin returned to England in 1893 and became manager of the Wolseley Sheep-Shearing Machine Company in Birmingham. When the company was reorganized into the the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company Limited in 1901 he held a similar position. In 1905 he left to concentrate on his own company, the Austin Motor Company Limited, of which he was director and chairman until his death. In 1922 he introduced the 'Austin Seven' car, which brought car ownership within the reach of a much greater number of people.
In the First World War, Austin's works at Longridge produced shells and other war material, and during the Second World War the company devoted itself to the production of planes, aero-engines and other munitions. Austin's experience of the mass-production of cars was useful at this time, and enabled him to take responsibility for six 'shadow' aircraft factories. He was also chairman of the Shadow Aero-Engines Committee from 1937 to 1940.
Austin was awarded the KBE in 1917, and he was created a Baron in 1936. He was also a Commander of the Order of Leopold II. He was elected a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1918, and was elected an Honorary Life Member in 1938. He was President of the Institution of Automobile Engineers and the British Cast Iron Research Association.
Lord Austin died on 23 May 1941.
1938 - Richard Edward Lloyd Maunsell
Richard Edward Lloyd Maunsell was born at Raheny, County Dublin, in 1868. He was educated at Armargh Royal School and Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated BA in 1891 and later received the degree of MA.
His engineering education began in 1888 with a three year pupilage at the Inchinore Works of the Great Southern and Western Railway, Ireland. He later became a pupil for a year at the Horwich Works of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. In 1892 he was appointed locomotive foreman in charge of the Blackpool and Fleetwood District of the L&YR. In 1894 he moved to India to take up the position of assistant locomotive superintendent on the East Indian Railway, where he was in charge of the Anasol section. After remaining in this position for a couple of years, Robert Coey, chief mechanical engineer of the Great Southern and Western Railway offered him the post of works manager at Inchinore. Maunsell accepted the post, and remained works manager for fifteen years, rearranging and modernizing the works and improving production capacity. Maunsell succeeded Coey in 1911 as chief mechanical engineer.
Two years later, Maunsell was appointed locomotive, carriage and wagon superintendent of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway, taking up headquarters at the Ashford Works, Kent. With the outbreak of war in 1914, Maunsell made great contributions to the Allied war effort, making several journeys to ascertain the railway needs of the fighting front in France, improving the efficiency of Ashford Works, and producing gun mounts for the anti-aircraft defence of London at the Works. For this work he was awarded the CBE in 1918.
After the war, Maunsell was entrusted with the task of producing standard locomotive designs for use in the British Railways by the Association of Railway Locomotive Engineers. This project was well advanced when the amalgamation of the railways into four groups made in unnecessary. In 1923, the newly formed Southern Railway appointed Maunsell as chief mechanical engineer, and he took up headquarters at Waterloo Station. He was particularly concerned with mechanical engine failures, and made sure that he was kept informed of all such failures so as to avoid as far as possible a recurrence. His approach to design was 'Make it as simple as possible...and above all let it be foolproof in use'.
He was very concerned with the education of works apprentices, and the training of young engineers, and he was a key member of the Education Committee of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Maunsell became a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1893, and became a Member of Council in 1923. He served as Vice-President in 1932 and was elected an Honorary Member in 1938. He was also a Member of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, and served as President in 1916 and 1928-29. He died on 7 March 1944
1938 - John Davenport Siddeley, Lord Kenilworth of Kenilworth
John Davenport Siddeley was born in 1866 in Cheadle Hulme, near Stockport. He was the eldest son of William Siddeley and Elizabeth, née Davenport. He left school as an apprentice hosier in his father’s business. He began attending evening classes, and by 1885 he was designing bicycles. He married Sarah Mabel Goodier in 1893. They had three sons and two daughters.
He began his engineering career as a draughtsman with the Humber Cycle Company at Beeston. He later became managing director of the Clipper Tyre Company, and it was in this role that he participated in the thousand-mile reliability trials which were held in 1900. As a publicity stunt Siddeley became the first person to cycle from John o’ Groats to Land’s End.
He first became involved with motor cars through pneumatic tyres. He formed the Siddeley Autocar Company in 1902, manufacturing Peugeot designs under license. He moved on to a position with the Wolseley Motor Company. He resigned from his position as general manager in 1909, becoming the managing director of the Deasy Motor Car Manufacturing Company. He was so successful in turning this struggling company around that it was renamed the Siddeley-Deasy car.
During the First World War the company’s fortunes improved with government orders for lorries and motor cars. Siddeley convinced the company to move into aviation, which led to orders for aero-engines and airframes. They created the Siddeley Puma which was very reliable, and was the principal design used in British bombers by the end of the war.
After the war Siddeley arranged a take-over of the Siddeley-Deasy company by the Armstrong Whitworth Company. Under the holding company Armstrong Whitworth Development Company two companies were formed, Armstrong Siddeley Motors and Sir W G Armstrong, Whitworth Aircraft Limited. During the 1920s, Siddeley took control of all three companies, financed by a £1.5 million loan. He officially retired in 1936 after arranging a merger with Hawker.
Kenilworth received the CBE in 1918. He was Knighted in 1932 and made a Peer in 1937. He was a President of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and the Society of British Aircraft Constructors. He was a Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1938.
Kenilworth retired in 1936. After his retirement he bought the historic Kenilworth Castle, which was presented to the nation by his son, Cyril.
Lord Kenilworth died on 3 November 1953.
1938 - William Richard Morris, Viscount Nuffield
William Richard Morris was born on 10 October 1877 in Worcester. He was the son of Frederick Morris and his wife, Emily Ann, née Pether. The family moved to Headington, near Oxford, and he attended Cowley village school until he was 15. He was then apprenticed to a cycle maker.
At the age of 16 he set up his own cycle repair business in Oxford, and started to assemble his own bicycles. He soon gained a reputation for value and reliability. In 1902 he began to manufacture motorcycles, and in 1909 he set up the Morris Garage, where he sold, hired, and repaired cars. In 1912 he founded W R M Motors Ltd and moved into motorcar manufacture, buying in components from which he built vehicles to his own design and specification. From the outset he was concerned that his vehicles should be reliable and keenly priced, and his first car, the 1912-designed Morris Oxford exemplified this approach. In 1913 he sold some 1300 examples of this model, putting him at once among the top British car manufacturers
During the First World War he manufactured an assortment of military products, which led to him receiving an OBE in 1917. After the War he began manufacturing his newly-designed Morris Cowley from new premises at Temple Cowley on the outskirts of Oxford. Although in 1919 he was able to produce only 387 cars, by 1923 he was turning out more than 20,000 per year, at prices which undercut most of his competitors. His cars gained an enviable reputation for reliability, ease of maintenance, and innovation, and during the 1920s and 1930s he was able to exploit the growing market much more effectively than his rivals.
He gradually took over his specialist suppliers. From 1923 he was manufacturing his own engines, bodies, and radiators at the Morris Engines Company. From 1926 he was manufacturing his own carburettors. That same year Morris Motors (1926) Ltd was founded. From the late 1920 his company supplied a third of all the cars built in Britain, but this was its high point. The Morris 8 and Morris 10 ranges launched in the 1930 kept Morris ahead of his competitors, but they were closing in fast, mimicking his successful manufacturing techniques to great advantage. From the late 1930 product development stagnated, as did the management style within the company, and the successful post-war Morris Minor was only introduced into production against Morris’s own wishes. In 1951 he merged the company with Austin to form the British Motor Company, of which he was president until he retired in 1954.
He was a great philanthropist, making significant educational and medical donations from the 1920s onwards, in total donating some £30 million. In 1936 he established a medical school in Oxford, and the following year donated land and some £900,000 for the establishment of an Oxford College. He was instrumental in establishing a network of provident societies that eventually became the British United Provident Association (BUPA). He made significant donations to hospitals, including the Radcliffe Royal Infirmary in Oxford and Guy’s Hospital in London. In 1939 established the Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown, and in 1942 he set up the Nuffield Foundation, with capital in the region of £10 million, to provide medical and social relief, and, from the 1950s, educational grants.
In 1938 became Viscount Nuffield, of Nuffield in the County of Oxford. He received many honours and awards, including five honorary doctorates and honorary Fellowships of four Oxford Colleges. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal College of Surgeons, and he was a Companion of Honour. He was elected Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1938
He married Elizabeth Maude Anstey on 9 April 1904; they had no children.
He died on 22 August 1963 at Nuffield Place in Oxfordshire at the age of 85.
1939 - Major General Alexander Elliot Davidson
Major General A E Davidson was born in 1880. He was educated at Blackheath School, and later attended the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.
He entered the Royal Engineers in 1899, and rose steadily through the ranks of the army, serving in both the South African War and the First World War. He was associated with mechanized warfare, and was one of the pioneers of mechanical transport in the army. He commanded one of the first sections of mechanical transport in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1902.
In 1910, he was secretary to the Mechanical Transport Commission and took part in the preparations for and expansion of mechanical transport in the run up to the First World War. From 1927 to 1931 he was Chairman of the Mechanical Warfare Board. This period was of great importance for the design and development of tanks, although such research was underfunded. In 1936, Davidson was appointed Director of Mechanization. He retired from the army in 1940.
He was President of the IMechE in 1935, and was later made an Honorary Member.
1939 - Alexander Graham Christie
Alexander Graham Christie was born in 1880 in Manchester, Ontario, Canada. He obtained a degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from the University of Toronto in 1901.
He started work as a lathe operator at the Westinghouse Machine Company in Pittsburgh, but was very soon transferred to the steam turbine department. In 1904 he was put in charge of the company’s steam turbine exhibit at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis. He spent a year as an instructor at the highly-regarded Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering, before moving back into industry, first with the Allis-Chambers Company and then as mechanical engineer in charge of power plants for the Western Canada Cement and Coal Company.
In 1909 he became an associate professor of steam and gas engineering at the University of Wisconsin before joining the School of Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1914. He was promoted to professor in 1920, and in 1921 became chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Department, a post that he would retain until his retirement in 1948. He was also head of the Night Courses for Technical Workers for part-time engineering students for 21 years, until 1953.
During the First World War he was involved in developing anti-submarine measures, and in the Second World War was Director of Training for the Baltimore War Manpower Commission.
He did much to raise the professional status of engineers and engineering, and helped establish the State of Maryland Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, serving as its first chairman. In 1939 he was elected President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and in 1953 he was awarded their George Westinghouse Gold Medal. He was a Life Member of the American Society of Engineering Education, and he received their prestigious Lamme Award in 1948. In 1939 he was elected Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
A memorial plaque in the Engineering Section of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library on the Homewood Campus of the Johns Hopkins University reads: “Scholar, teacher, leader of men, Alexander Graham Christie, Mechanical Engineer”.
In 1919 he married Flora Brown of Ohio, and they had two children.
He died in 1964 in his 85th year.
1939 - Henry Ford
Henry Ford was born on 30 July 1863 in Greenfield, near Detroit, Michigan. He was the son of farmer William Ford, of County Cork, Ireland, and his wife, Mary, whose parents were Belgian.
In 1879 he left home to be an apprentice machinist in Detroit, first with James F. Flower & Bros and then with the Detroit Dry Dock Company. He returned to Greenfield to work on the family farm in 1882, becoming an expert operator of the Westinghouse portable steam engine – so much so that he was subsequently hired by Westinghouse to service their steam engines. He joined the Edison Illuminating Company in 1891, and was Chief Engineer by 1893.
In his spare time he built his first self-propelled vehicle, which he called the Ford Quadricycle, in 1896. He built a second vehicle in 1898, and he left Edison and founded the short-lived Detroit Automobile Company in 1899 with William H. Murphy. In 1901 he successfully built and raced another vehicle, and with Murphy and others formed the Henry Ford Motor Company. However, he left the following year when Murphy hired Henry M. Leland as a consultant engineer; Murphy subsequently renamed the company the Cadillac Automobile Company.
Ford maintained an interest in motor racing from 1901 to 1913, and in 1902 he designed and built a racing car which set the land speed record of 91.3 mile/h (147 km/h) and was toured around the US by racing driver Barney Oldfield, making the brand known nationwide. With the backing of Alexander Malcomson he formed Ford & Malcomson Ltd, manufacturing inexpensive cars using parts made by John and Horace Dodge.
Financial crisis led to the transformation in 1903 of Ford & Malcomson into the Ford Motor Company, with the Dodge brothers as part-owners. The company introduced its ‘Model T’ in 1908. By 1914 sales had exceeded 250,000, and by 1918 half of all cars in the USA were Model Ts. (When production eventually ceased in 1927 more than 15 million had been produced.) In the 1920s rising competition for the Model T made it necessary to introduce a new car, and the result was the ‘Model A’. Introduced in 1927, it was produced until 1931, with a total output of over 4 million cars.
The Ford plant at River Rouge became the largest industrial complex in the world. Plants were opened in Canada and the UK in 1911, in Italy, in cooperation with Fiat, in 1912, and in Germany, France, Australia, and India in the 1920s. In 1929 he built what became the GAZ car plant in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod). The many subsidiary companies established included Ford of Europe, Ford of Brazil, Ford of South Africa, and Ford of Mexico. By 1932 Ford was building one third of all of the world’s cars, and ‘Fordism’ slipped into the language: something quintessentially American. It was stated at the time ‘Automobiles have so completely changed the American’s mode of life that ... it is difficult to remember what life was like before Mr Ford’.
He was a pioneer of ‘welfare capitalism’, believing that good wages would attract and keep the best staff. In 1914 he introduced a $5/day wage – almost twice the average of the time – which proved extremely profitable, as all of the best mechanics flocked to Ford, raising productivity and lowering training costs. He also set a reduced work week: in 1922 this was a six-day, 48-hour week, reducing by 1926 to a five-day, 40-hour week. Another advantage of paying people more was that they could now afford to buy the cars they were producing, thus pushing up demand. He was adamantly opposed to unions, believing that they would restrict productivity and increase unrest. He was convinced that good managers would properly look after their staff, as it was in their own interests to do so. However, he was eventually forced to concede an agreement with the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) in 1941, the last of the major car builders to do so.
He entered the aviation business during the First World War, building Liberty engines for aeroplanes and anti-submarine boats. After the War he established the Ford Airplane Division, building the Ford 4AT Trimotor – known as the ‘Tin Goose’. This plane, very similar to the Fokker V.VII-3m, from which it may well have been copied, first flew in 1926. It was the first successful US passenger airliner. Aeroplane manufacture ceased in 1933 during the Great Depression, but started up again during the Second World War, when, in 1943, Ford turned to the mass production of B24 ‘Liberator’ bombers, increasing production from one per day to one per hour, with a peak of 600 in one month.
His son, Edsel Ford, had been President of the company since 1918, and when he died in 1943 Henry, now in his 80s and in failing health, resumed nominal control. However, the company remained in a kind of limbo until Edsel Ford’s widow installed her son, Henry Ford II as President, and he took full control.
In 1928 Henry Ford was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal of the Franklin Institute, and in 1939 was elected an Honorary Life Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. In 1999 he was the winner of the Car Entrepreneur of the Century Award.
In 1888 he harried Sara Jane, née Bryant, and they had one son, Edsel, born in 1893.
He died in on 7 April 1947 at Fair Lane, his Dearborn estate, in Michigan, at the age of 83.
1939 - Engineer Vice-Admiral Sir Harold Arthur Brown
Harold Arthur Brown was born in 1878. He was educated from the age of 15 as an engineering student at the Royal Naval Engineering College at Keyham, Devonport until 1899.
Brown had a long and successful career in the Royal Navy, during which he rose to the rank of Vice Admiral. In 1930, as the culmination of this career he was appointed Deputy Engineer-in-Chief of the Fleet. He held this post until 1932, when he was promoted to the position of Engineer-in-Chief of the Fleet, remaining in this position until 1936. In the latter part of the 1930s, in the years leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he moved from a direct role in the Navy to become Director General of Munitions Production for the Army Council at the War Office.
After the outbreak of war, from 1939 to 1941, he held the post of Director General of Munitions Production at the Ministry of Supply. In 1941 and 1942 he was the Controller General of Munitions Production, and from the latter part of 1942 until after hostilities had ended, in 1946, he was the Senior Supply Officer and the Chairman of the Armament Development Board for the Ministry of Supply.
After the end of the War, from 1947 until he retired in 1950, he was the Chairman of the Fuel Research Board.
At the Golden Jubilee meeting of the North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in July 1935 he was made an Honorary Member.
He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1939.
He died in 1968 in his 90th year.
1939 - Professor Alexander Lawson Mellanby
Alexander Lawson Mellanby was born in 1871 in West Hartlepool. He was the eldest son of four sons and two daughters born to John Mellanby, a manager of the Furness-Withy Shipyard, and his wife. He was educated at Barnard Castle School, leaving in 1887 to become an engineering apprentice at the Central Marine Engineering Works in West Hartlepool. In 1892, following the completion of his apprenticeship, he attended the Durham University College of Science until 1895, when he was awarded a BSc in engineering. In 1896 he went to study at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he gained his MSc.
Returning from Canada to Hartlepool in 1897, he was appointed Chief Technical Advisor at the marine engineering firm, T Richardson and Sons. In 1898 he was appointed Chief Lecturer in Engineering at Battersea Polytechnic in London, before moving to the Manchester School of Technology, first as Executive Engineer, later as a lecturer in mechanical engineering. In 1905 he was appointed Professor of Mechanisms and Prime Movers at the Glasgow and West Scotland Technical College, where he set about re-equipping the laboratories. He also increased the attendance at lectures appreciably by enrolling an increasing number of full-time day students from the shipyards on the Clyde. In 1906 he was appointed Professor of Motive Power Engineering. In 1911, when the college became the Royal Technical College, he was made Professor of Mechanical Engineering, becoming Professor of Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering in 1924, the post he held until his retirement in 1936.
He was the recipient of many honorary degrees and prestigious awards from professional associations. In 1939 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
He died in 1951 in his 80th year.
1940 - Sir Herbet Nigel Gresley
Sir Nigel Gresley CBE was born in 1876 in Edinburgh. He was educated at Marlborough. He served a premium apprenticeship at the Crewe works of the London and North Western Railway. In 1898 he joined the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway, where he was apprenticed at Horwich. After his apprenticeship he was put in charge of the test room.
In 1901 he became Assistant Works Manager at Newton Heath Carriage Works. The following year he was made manager. After a series of positions at the Lancashire and Yorkshire, he moved to the Great Northern Railway, where in 1905 he was appointed Carriage and Wagon Superintendent at Doncaster. In 1911, when H A Ivatt retired, Gresley was appointed Locomotive Engineer at Doncaster. The following year the position was renamed Chief Mechanical Engineer. In 1923, with the Grouping of the railway companies, Gresley was made chief mechanical engineer of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway.
Gresley’s first original locomotive design was a two cylinder 2-6-0 engine, which was built in 1912. He continued to develop his designs over the years, and in 1922 completed the first of the famous three cylinder 4-6-2 Pacific engines. Many Pacifics were constructed at the London and North Eastern Railway’s centres at Darlington and Doncaster. These were constantly improved with modifications such as increased boiler pressures and a higher degree of superheat.
In 1925, Gresley introduced the Mikado, a 2-8-2 locomotive for heavy freight traffic. He adopted the design nine years later for the Cock o’ the North, a larger wheeled engine for heavy express work. In 1935, the Silver Link locomotive was built. It was a streamlined Pacific, and it was put to work on a completely streamlined train, the first in the United Kingdom, known as the Silver Jubilee. It made the daily journey from London to Darlington, a distance of 232 miles, in three hours eighteen minutes, without a stop. In 1937, another streamlined train was introduced on the 393 mile journey from London to Edinburgh, completing the journey in six hours. His streamlined 4-6-2 engine No. 4468, Mallard, broke the record for the highest speed ever reached by a train in the UK, maintaining 120mph for five miles, with a short burst at 125 mph.
As well as his pioneering locomotive designs, another major achievement was the establishment of a locomotive testing station in the UK. He had long believed this to be of great importance to locomotive engineering in the country, and his efforts resulted in a national testing centre being constructed jointly by the London and North Eastern and the London, Midland and Scottish Railways, at Rugby. Work had commenced in 1937, but was postponed on the outbreak of war; unfortunately Gresley did not live to see its completion.
Gresley’s work during the First World War, to reorganise Doncaster works for the production of munitions, was rewarded with a CBE in 1920. He received a knighthood in 1937. He also served on several Government appointed committees, including those considering automatic train control and the electrification of railways. He was President of the IMechE in 1935, and was twice President of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, in 1927-1928 and 1934-1935.
Gresley died in 1941 at the age of 65.