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British Industrial History

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James Robert Happer

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James Robert Happer (1871-1940)

1940 Obituary [1]

JAMES ROBERT HAPPER was born at Millburn, Duns, Berwickshire, on 6th August 1871. He served his apprenticeship from 1890 to 1895, with Messrs. Bertram, Ltd., Sciennes, Edinburgh, who specialized in plant for paper-making and rubber manufacture. Mr. Happer remained with the firm as a journeyman until 1897; he then became a draughtsman with Messrs. J. Bertram and Son, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, and later secured a position as assistant superintending engineer at a paper mill owned by Messrs. R. and W. Watson, of Linwood, Renfrewshire, with whom he remained until 1911.

The paper mill was the first to be completely converted to electric drive, with the result that the output was doubled, without extra consumption of fuel. Mr. Happer took a leading part in this conversion. He was later appointed managing engineer for Messrs. Tullis, Russell and Company, a firm owning paper mills at Auchmuty, and Rothes paper mills, in June 1911, and remained with them until his death on 16th April, 1940.

He was directly responsible for the conversion to electrical power of large public factories, and also for new and improved types of paper machines and plant. Mr. Happer was the inventor and patentee of many important improvements in paper-making machinery and the author of articles published in the technical press on electrical and mechanical drives for paper mills.

He was elected a member of the Institution in 1936. He took a keen interest in educational matters and served on the General Purposes Committee of Fifeshire Education Authority.

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