Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,101 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Harold Butler

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

Harold Butler (1877-1941) of the Butler Machine Tool Co

Son of James Ryder Butler


1942 Obituary [1]

HAROLD BUTLER, M.B.E., chairman and managing director of the Butler Machine Tool Company, Ltd., Halifax, who was elected a Member of the Institution in 1936, died on 24th December 1941 in his sixty-sixth year. He was born in Halifax and received his early education there and at the Yorkshire College, Leeds. As was the good old custom of the day, he entered his father's business (then J. Butler and Company) as a youth of seventeen. Here he found a congenial career. During his association with the business its progress was continuous. Together with Herbert Butler, he was a director of the private company, which was formed in 1919; and in 1937, when it was converted into a public company, he was chairman and managing director,, and held these offices until his death.

Under his guidance the business grew from a comparatively small concern, until it became one of the largest machine tool organisations in the country. The policy adopted by the company was to concentrate on the construction of machines of the reciprocating type: planers, shapers, and slotters; and a high degree of excellence, both in design and in workmanship was attained. It would, in fact, be difficult to find a more impressive machine than a Butler electrically controlled planer, which for smoothness of action, volume of output, and ease of control is an outstanding example of the machine tool maker's art. Butler was a great traveller and familiarized himself with American practice and with the requirements of engineers in the British Empire and on the Continent.

But he was not a machine tool maker only, and his active mind and exceptional energy found many other outlets. During the war of 1914-18, as a member of the Halifax Munitions Board, he was largely responsible for the production of over a million shells. For this and other national services he received the M.B.E. He was a founder member of the local branch of the Foremen's Mutual Benefit Society and was chairman from 1918 to 1920; and he was President of the Halifax District Engineering Employers' Association in 1920 and 1921. In addition he was a founder member of Associated British Machine Tool Makers, Ltd., and was chairman of the Board in 1922-3, and again from 1932 to 1935. In 1938 he was elected President of the Machine Tool Trades Association and continued in that office until 1941. He was President of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce in 1930 and 1931, and since 1933 he had been a Justice of the Peace for Halifax.

By his death the machine tool industry loses a prominent and able member, Halifax is deprived of a leading citizen, and a large circle of acquaintances will long miss a staunch and cheery friend.


1942 Obituary [2]

WE greatly regret to learn that Mr. Harold Butler, chairman and managing director of the Butler Machine Tool Company, Ltd., Halifax, died on December 24th, 1941, in his sixty-sixth year.

He was born in Halifax and received his early education there, and at the Yorkshire College, Leeds, entering his father's business of J. Butler and Co. at the age of seventeen.

In 1908 the commercial management of the company was largely in his hands, the practical side being administered by his brother, the late Mr. Herbert Butler. His commercial activities extended over most European countries and included the Brussels Exhibition of 1910, while in 1911 he paid his first visit to Canada and the U.S.A.

During the war of 1914-18 he was a member of the Halifax Munitions Board, and his company was responsible for the production of over 1,000,000 shells, in addition to large numbers of machine tools. For his services to the country during the war, Mr. Butler was honoured by receiving the M.B.E.

His local business activities included being a founder member of the local branch of the Foreman's Mutual Benefit Society, of which he was Chairman from 1918 to 1920, following which he was President in 1920-21 of the Halifax District Engineering Employers' Association. He was also one of the founder members of Associated British Machine Tool Makers. Ltd., and was Chairman of the board in 1922-23 and from 1932 to 1935.

In 1930 and 1931 he was President of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.

In 1938 Mr. Butler became President of the Machine Tool Trades' Association, and continued in that office until March, 1941. In 1919 the firm of J. Butler and Co. became the Butler Machine Tool Company, Ltd., with Mr. Harold Butler and Mr. Herbert Butler as directors, and since 1937, when it became a public limited company, Mr. Harold Butler has been chairman and managing director.

During his lifetime Mr. Butler has seen the business grow from a small concern, occupying converted premises, to one of the largest machine tool firms in the country, with extensive modem buildings designed and built for the large-scale production of machine tools. Under his guidance the policy of the firm was to concentrate on one particular type of machine, with the result that the company now enjoys a wide reputation for machine tools of the reciprocating type.

The extent of this reputation was due almost entirely to the efforts of Mr. Butler, who travelled extensively in Europe, the British Empire, and the United States of America.


See Also

Loading...

Sources of Information