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British Industrial History

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Bernard Robert Wingfield

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Bernard Robert Wingfield (1872-1935)

1935 Obituary.[1]

BERNARD ROBERT WINGFIELD, Ph.D., who died on the 2nd March, 1935, in his 64th year, was born on the 13th November, 1872, at Frankfurt. He was trained as an electrical engineer, graduating Ph.D. of Rostock in 1893 and securing practical experience at the Siemens works in Berlin and subsequently with the Kummer firm, for whom he installed power plant at Niederloesnitz. Having, in 1897, installed power plant in the Braunschweig Machinenbauanstalt, he remained with the firm for 5 years designing and selling machine tools.

It was in 1902 that he came to England in search of wider opportunities for his technical and business ability. Beginning as an agent, he came into touch with Mr. E. Trevor L. Williams, acted as liquidator of the Roc Steel Casting Co. of West Drayton and, in association with Mr. Williams, created on the same site the Power Plant Co. in which to develop the production of double helical gearing under the Wuest patent. He developed turbine gears for land and marine work, having been responsible in 1909 for cutting the gears for Sir Charles Parsons' S.S. " Vespasian," and subsequently for many warships and passenger steamers. It was his ingenious arrangement of double-reduction turbine gearing which facilitated the application during the War of turbine drive to small cargo vessels.

Shortly before the War he became a British subject and subsequently assumed the name of Wingfield, his original name being Wiesengrund. Under his direction the works of the Power Plant Co. concentrated during the War on Admiralty and Ministry of Munitions work, and he did not spare himself in his service to this country. When the conviction grew upon him that the severance of his connection with the works which he had built up might enable them to render still greater national service, he did not hesitate in 1918 to dispose entirely of his interest in them and withdrew completely. He then turned his energies to developing the Steam Fittings Co., of which Mr. Williams and he had retained control. Beginning with the improvement of steam-trap design, he gradually extended the range of products of the business and it became desirable to change the name of the company to the Drayton Regulator and Instrument Co. To the day of his death he was actively engaged in directing this business.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1908 and a Member in 1911.

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