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Henry Hague Vaughan

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Henry Hague Vaughan (1868-1942)

1943 Obituary [1]

HENRY HAGUE VAUGHAN was born at Forest Hill, Kent, and was educated at Forest House School and at King's College, London. He served his time as a special apprentice at Patricroft, Lancashire, in the shops and drawing office of Nasmyth, Wilson and Company. The training he received there, together with extensive later shop experience elsewhere, gave him that thorough grasp of mechanical details and engineering processes which was afterwards to stand him in such good stead.

In 1891, after some months of work in the locomotive shops of two English main line railways, he went to the United States, entering railway service there first as machinist, later as draughtsman, and then as assistant engineer of tests at St. Paul, Minnesota, for the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad. He became mechanical engineer of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1898, and four years later moved to Cleveland, Ohio, as assistant superintendent of motive power for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, becoming superintendent very shortly thereafter.

He went to Canada in February 1904, as superintendent of motive power at Montreal for the Canadian Pacific Railway. In December 1905 he was appointed assistant to the vice-president, a position in which he had general charge of the design and construction of locomotives and car equipment, the maintenance of equipment east of Fort William, and the operation of the Angus locomotive and car shops at Montreal. Just at that time the railway was at the beginning of a ten-year period of very rapid growth, so that the responsibility of obtaining, improving and maintaining the locomotive and car equipment for the road was no light one.

One of Mr. Vaughan's first tasks was the standardization of the many types of locomotive then in use on the Canadian Pacific Railway, a policy resulting in greatly simplified maintenance. He was a pioneer in America in the successful application of superheated steam to locomotives, a course which he first advocated in 1905. The Canadian Pacific Railway adopted superheating some years before the roads in the United States recognized the advantages of the practice. The many other developments in which he was interested included the use of thermostatically controlled feed water heaters, improvements in the balancing of the various types of locomotive then in use, so as to lessen rail breakages, especially in severe winter weather, and the design of what were then the most powerful rotary snow-ploughs in North America.

Just before leaving the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1915, Mr. Vaughan adapted the Angus shops and their equipment to various forms of urgent war work. In this way he became one of the leaders in improvising and designing machinery for the mass-production of the many kinds of munitions which Canada contributed during the war of 1914-18. In many instances the manufacturing processes required were such as had not been carried out previously in any Canadian workshops.

After resigning his executive position with the railway, Mr. Vaughan was retained for some years as their mechanical engineering consultant. His activity continued, however, as regards the production of munitions, for he became an executive officer of several of the larger companies then engaged in war work. Later his consulting work developed along administrative and financial, rather than strictly technical lines. In recent years he took an active interest in the establishment and operation of the Portland cement industry in Brazil. He died on 11th December 1942, during a business visit to Philadelphia, a few days after his seventy-fourth birthday.

Mr. Vaughan was active in many of the professional societies to which he belonged. In the Engineering Institute of Canada he was president in 1918. During his term of office he was concerned not only with the active functioning of the Institute as regards the dissemination of professional knowledge, but also with the problems involved in the recognition and legal establishment of the engineer's professional status in Canada, a matter which was then receiving much attention. He was elected a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1904, and was chairman of the Canadian Advisory Committee from its inception in 1937 until his death. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In 1940 the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, of which he had long been a member, conferred its Honorary Membership upon him. He had served as a vice-president in 1910 and again in 1923. For a number of years he was active as the chairman of the Canadian Engineering Standards Association, of which he was made an Honorary Life Member in 1939.

At his funeral service, six past-presidents of the Engineering Institute of Canada, representatives of other technical societies of which he was an honoured member, railways officials, business associates, and fellow engineers joined in paying respect to the memory of one of Canada's foremost mechanical engineers.

This outline of Henry Vaughan's career can give but little idea of his personality and character. All who were privileged to work with or for him soon learned to appreciate his helpful co-operation or supervision, his executive ability, his professional competence, and his great store of technical knowledge. As the presiding officer of a council or committee his immediate grasp of the essential features of a proposal and his promptness in obtaining a decision were quite characteristic. Widely read, interested in an immense variety of topics, his views on questions of the day were always worthy of attention. It would indeed be hard to fill the gap which has been left by his passing.

1942 Obituary [2]

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