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John Edward Gibbs

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John Edward Gibbs (1872-1942)

1942 Obituary [1]

JOHN EDWARD GIBBS was one of the pioneers of steam cars in the early years of the present century and was associated with the motor industry for the greater part of his career. He was born in 1872 and served his apprenticeship with Messrs. J. and F. Howard, of Bedford. He joined the firm of Messrs. S. Z. de Ferranti in 1896 and later took charge of the erection of alternators and engines in their Manchester works. He also acted in a supervisory capacity for the firm during the installation of electrical plant in the power station at Harrogate.

He remained in the firm's service until 1898 when he became works manager of the Power Transmission and Traction Company, of Bradford. On that firm's amalgamation with the British Power Traction and Lighting Company, Ltd., of York, he occupied the same position in the latter company for two years. Amongst his early achievements - which showed his versatility — were the changing of a steam engine on a concrete foundation in 36 hours; the reorganization of a steam laundry to central drive; and the conversion from steam to independent electric drive in several large printing works in Bradford.

He also took part in the construction of a steam car to his own design and was himself concerned with the making of a three-cylinder steam engine with a single crankshaft. He subsequently became works manager to the Gardner-Serpollet organization where he developed his ideas for steam generators for road transport; he also produced a steam tractor to his own designs. In addition he was associated with early types of motor-driven lawn mowers.

From 1904 he was in business on his own account for some years as an engineer and motor manufacturer in York, which he relinquished on account of ill health in 1930. He took a keen interest in municipal affairs, serving on York City Council, as representative for Walmgate ward, and advocating the introduction of motor buses to improve City transport facilities. He also continued to act as consulting engineer in matters connected with motor insurance up to the time of his death, which occurred on the 24th November 1941.

Mr. Gibbs was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1912.

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