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John Place

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John Place (1861-1934), senior partner of Wheatley Kirk, Price and Co.

1935 Obituary [1]

JOHN PLACE was engaged for many years in the development of printing machinery, particularly of linotype machines.

He was born in 1861 and served a three years' apprenticeship, commencing in 1879, under Mr. S. W. Johnson, M.I.Mech.E. (Past-President), at the Derby works of the Midland Railway.

He then joined the Westinghouse Brake Company as a draughtsman and superintending engineer and went to Germany to take charge of work carried out on the Baden, Bavaria, Wurttemburg, and German State railways. He also contributed various papers to the Verein deutscher Ingenieure at this time.

In 1886 he returned to England as superintendent engineer to Messrs. John H. Ladd and Company, London, press manufacturers and general engineers, and subsequently acted as manager.

He was appointed chief engineer of the Linotype Company in 1889 and supervised the planning and erection of the Broadheath works, Manchester, of which he was manager for two and a half years.

In 1892 he brought out a notable invention to improve the alignment of the type and to avoid the damage caused by one matrix striking the edge of the next; Mr. Place's device arranged for each matrix to be struck centrally, by forming a convex projection on the foot of each matrix to receive the blow. The invention also avoided the undue wear and consequent poor impression which had previously rendered linotype printing much inferior to that from stereos made from movable type.

In 1899 Mr. Place became junior partner in Messrs. Wheatley Kirk, Price and Company, becoming senior partner in 1930. He received the Freedom of the City of London in 1920, and was a member of the Farriers' Company. He was actively connected with the restoration of Bow Church and the recasting of Bow Bells.

His long connexion with the Institution dated back to 1887, when he was elected a Member.

His death occurred on 14th December 1934.

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