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British Industrial History

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John Lawrence Hodgson

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John Lawrence Hodgson (1881-1936)

1936 Obituary [1]

JOHN LAWRENCE HODGSON was technical expert to Messrs. George Kent, Ltd., of London and Luton, from 1907 until shortly before his death, which occurred at his home near Leighton Buzzard on 14th August 1936.

He was born at Frizinghall, near Bradford, in 1881, and received his technical education at University College, Nottingham, where he graduated in electrical engineering in 1900. He then continued his studies there until 1903, when he obtained a degree in mathematics. In the latter year he commenced his practical training with Mr. William Walker, and patented a sewage control apparatus.

After a brief period as a surveyor at Gedling Colliery, near Nottingham, he became a pupil at Messrs. Yarrow's works, then situated at Poplar, and assisted in research on the effect of the depth of water on ships' speeds.

After joining Messrs. Kent he developed the sewage control apparatus which he had patented four years previously. From 1908 to 1911 he carried out research on the design of Venturi air meters for the Victoria Falls and Transvaal Power Company's air distribution scheme and he went to the Witwatersrand to supervise the installation of his system.

For the remainder of his life he was concerned with the design and development of apparatus for metering air, steam, town gas, and water. During the following years he devised the gate type of air meters supplied to Rand Mines, Ltd., also air meters for testing the efficiency of rock drills, the Venturi gas meter, which automatically made corrections for variations in density, and various orifice meters, in addition to a method of calibrating orifices used for flow measurement. In this connexion he contributed a large number of papers to engineering institutions.

Between 1904 and 1931 he took out no less than 51 patents.

He was keenly interested in aviation and in 1916 he invented a method of testing model propellers in a closed channel, which was widely adopted for aeronautical work.

Mr. Hodgson was elected a Member of the Institution in 1923, and will be remembered for his work on the Informal Meetings Sub-committee during 1931-3, and from 1935 until his decease. In 1934, in collaboration with Mr. L. L. Robinson, M.I.Mech.E., he presented a notable paper on "The Development of Automatic Combustion Control Systems for Industrial and Power Station Boilers", and he also frequently contributed to discussions on papers at the Institution. In addition he was an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

He devoted much thought to possible engineering developments of the future, and investigated the feasibility of a Mediterranean Dam, floating islands, and methods of tapping the internal heat of the earth. He was a keen student of economics, and was one of the founders of the Engineers' Study Group, and the author of two books in which he published his original views.

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