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British Industrial History

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George Henry Swingler

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George Henry Swingler (1884-1946)

1948 Obituary [1]

"GEORGE HENRY SWINGLER was for twenty-six years City Electrical Engineer of Cape Town. This important position he reached entirely by his own efforts and his innate engineering ability, his early training being confined chiefly to carpentry and joinery.

He was born in 1884 and in his nineteenth year went to South Africa and obtained employment in the building trade. Whilst engaged on the construction of a power house for the Kalk Bay Muizenberg Municipality in the Cape Peninsula, he displayed such interest in the generating plant that he was subsequently appointed foreman in charge of the power station. He made the most of every opportunity to improve his technical knowledge of engineering practice, and his aptitude was such that in a short time he was appointed electrical engineer to that municipality. In 1913 he entered the service of the Cape Town Electricity Department as an engineer, being first employed on testing and installations, but such was his enthusiasm and outstanding ability that he was appointed City Electrical Engineer five years later. Upon the inauguration of the Electricity Supply Commission's Cape Town Undertaking in 1924, Mr. Swingler was appointed local manager while continuing to act as City Engineer. During his period of office large extensions were carried out on his advice and the total capacity of the generating plant had increased from 30,000 kW. to some 230,000 kW.

At the outbreak of the 1939-45 war he proceeded to the United States to represent the Director General of War Supplies in connection with the Union's war effort. He returned in 1943, but in the following year retired from the position of city electrical engineer. He continued, however, to act as manager of the Electricity Supply Commission's Cape Town Undertaking until his death which occurred on 19th August 1946. Mr. Swingler was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1919 and was transferred to Membership in 1920. He was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers."

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