Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John William Smith

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John William Smith (1868-1943)

1868 Born. Brought up and educated in Dundee

Attended Durham College of Science, Newcastle on Tyne

1885 North Eastern Railway Company's works at Gateshead

1891 Joined the Locomotive Department, Midland Railway Company, Derby

1898 Became member of I Mech E

1906 Moved to Great Central Railway as Works Manager, Gorton

1943 Died

1944 Obituary [1]

JOHN WILLIAM SMITH was born at Stratford, Essex, in 1868. He received his education at the High School and the West End Academy, Dundee, and at Rutherford Technical College, Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1885 he began to serve his apprenticeship in the works of the North Eastern Railway at Gateshead. He then entered the drawing office, and was later placed in charge of mechanical and chemical tests of railway material.

For a short period he was resident in Leeds inspecting and passing materials, and during 1891 he had further special training in the running department at Gateshead. He then entered the drawing office of the locomotive department of the Midland Railway, Derby, and was subsequently engaged in conducting a series of experiments with locomotives, including the introduction of piston valves. In 1899 he went to America to inspect and supervise the building of locomotives for the Midland Railway at the works of the Baldwin Locomotive Company, of Philadelphia and Schenectady.

On his return to Derby in the following year, he was made chief locomotive draughtsman under Mr. Samuel W. Johnson, and was responsible for much of the design, and for conducting the trials, of the three-cylinder compounds. In 1906 he was appointed works manager of the Great Central Railway's works at Gorton, and began his long association with that company which lasted until his retirement in 1932.

Mr. Smith had been a Member of the Institution since 1898. His death occurred at Marple, Cheshire, on 12th May 1943.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Mechanical Engineer Records
  • Railway Employment Records