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Archibald McKinstry

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Archibald McKinstry (1877-1952) of the Metal Box Co and Babcock and Wilcox

1952 Obituary [1]

It is with regret that we record the death of Sir Archibald McKinstry, which occurred on Monday, October 6th, in London.

Sir Archibald, who was in his seventy-fifth year was, until earlier this year the vice-chairman of the Metal Box Company, from which position he had resigned at his own request.

Sir Archibald was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1877, and received his early education at the Grammar School, Larne, after which he took an Honours course in mathematical and experimental physics at the Royal University of Ireland, and graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1898. He continued his studies at Queen's College, Belfast, on a post-graduate course and then served an apprenticeship with the British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, Ltd., from 1902 to 1907. During these years, he was trained as an electrical and mechanical engineer, acting as an assistant engineer on several of the company's contracts and eventually being appointed engineer-in-charge.

In 1911, Sir Archibald went to Australia as representative of his company to supervise various contracts and electrical schemes then under way in Australia and New Zealand. He remained abroad for several years and became Director of Munitions, Commonwealth Government of Australia, during the latter part of the first world war, and Electricity Commissioner for the State of Victoria, Australia, in 1918.

In 1919 he was given his degree of Master of Science by the University of Melbourne. He visited the United States of America and Canada in 1920-21 on matters of electrical interest, and continued to be associated with the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company, Ltd., of which he was a director, and the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Export Company, Ltd., of which he was chairman until 1930, when he severed his connection with these interests.

In addition to his business activities, he served as a director of the British Broadcasting Corporation from 1922 to 1927, and in 1929 visited Spain as a member of the trade mission of the Federated British Industries.

After leaving the electrical industry, Sir Archibald joined the board of Babcock and Wilcox, Ltd., and a year later, in 1932, he was appointed managing director, which position he continued to hold until 1944, when he retired. He continued, however, to be a director and it was not until 1951 that he resigned from the board owing to advancing years. During this period he was also connected with the Metal Box Company, Ltd., of which he was made a director in 1941, subsequently becoming vice-chairman of the company. Sir Archibald held that office until July of this year, when he resigned, but continued to be a director.

Sir Archibald served on many government committees, both during and after the second world war. He was a member of the Industrial Panel of the Ministry of Production in 1942, and in the following year was a representative of the Ministry of Supply on the Munitions Management and Labour Efficiency Committee of the Ministry of Production.

In 1947 he acted as a member of the Appeal Tribunal and served on the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors.

Sir Archibald, who was knighted in 1943, was a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and also of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

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