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Joseph Green Cooke

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1877. Steam railway trolly.

Joseph Green Cooke (1833-1881).

1881 Obituary [1]

MR. JOSEPH GREEN COOKE, the second son of the late Joseph Cooke, Esq., J.P., of Colchester, Essex, was born at Mistley in Essex, on the 19th of January, 1833.

He was educated at King’s Langley in Hertfordshire and at Colchester. Having from an early age displayed an aptitude €or mechanical pursuits, he was sent, on leaving school, to some small engineering works at Maidstone then belonging to Messrs. Knight and Cumming.

A short period in these works showed that he ought to be placed in a more extensive establishment, and in 1851 he was regularly articled to Messrs. Sharp, Roberts and Co. (now Messrs. Sharp, Stewart and Co.) of Manchester.

After completing his term with them, during which period he was employed in Holland, Belgium, and Ireland, he was sent by the firm to erect some locomotive engines for the line of railway from Turin to Alessandria in Italy, and on completing the erection of these engines he remained with the railway company as deputy locomotive superintendent. During his stay in Italy he made the acquaintance of Signor Grattoni, who wished to arrange with him to take charge of the boring machinery for the Mont Cenis tunnel; and he would have done so but for the breaking out of the war between France allied with Italy and Austria.

He then returned to England and was employed by Messrs. Sharp, Stewart and Co. to erect engines for them in Spain on the Barcelona and Saragossa railway. In that case also after the completion of his work for the firm, he engaged himself to the railway company as deputy locomotive superintendent, in which position he remained until the year 1863, when he returned to England and entered into an engagement with Messrs. Bray, Waddington and Co. for the erection of a large quantity of rolling stock which they were supplying under contract to the Madrid and Alicante railway in Spain.

He remained in Spain until the summer of 1864, and he was soon after appointed locomotive superintendent of the Imperial Mexican railway, and left England in the autumn to take up his position in Mexico. He remained in Mexico until the end of the year 1866, when he returned to England, by way of the United States, for the purpose of obtaining information with reference to American railway rolling stock.

On arriving in England at Christmas, 1866, he was for some time employed investigating the Fairlie engine, and reported to the late Mr. James Samuel, M. Inst. C.E., thereon; and was subsequently occupied in designing and superintending the construction of small contractors’ locomotives, for some friends in England who had an establishment for building such engines.

In September 1868 he obtained the appointment of locomotive superintendent of the Oudh and Rohilkund railway, and was at once engaged with Messrs. Sharp, Stewart and Co. in designing some locomotives which they were about to build for the railway company; and after determining with them the most suitable type of engine, he left for India in the following November. He remained in India from that time with the exception of two visits to England €or the benefit of his health, until the date of his death at Lucknow on the 14th of April, 1881.

For a statement of his duties and services and for the value placed upon them by his employers, the resolution passed by the Board of Directors of the railway company after his death will give the best information. The resolution referred to was in the following words:-

“The Board record with much regret the death of Mr. Joseph Green Cooke, who was appointed to the service of the company in September 1868, as locomotive and carriage superintendent, and organised in a very short time and in a very efficient manner both of these departments. Nr. Cooke planned and laid out the extensive workshops at Lucknow, and designed the type of locomotive which has proved so satisfactory and serviceable. His power of organisation and administrative ability, especially noticeable in his dealings with the native subordinates, added to his extensive mechanical knowledge, made him a most valuable officer, and the company by his death have sustained a serious loss.”

Mr. Cooke designed and built the first locomotive engine ever constructed in Lucknow, for use on the common roads. He subsequently built a similar engine for running on the line of railway, both engines being strong but light in structure and economical and efficient in working. He was the inventor of a simple and efficient apparatus for obtaining a supply of hot water for domestic purposes in India, and he also patented a mechanical punkah aria other cooling arrangements adaptable either for houses or railway carriages, and at the time of his death was perfecting some improved arrangements for lighting railway carriages.

Mr. Cooke’s connection with the Institution of Civil Engineers dated from the 1st of May, 1866, when he was elected an Associate.

1881 Obituary [2]

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