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Robert Douglas Archibald

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Robert Douglas Archibald (1881-1941)

Associate of the Royal Technical College, Glasgow. Senior Lecturer, Admiralty, Royal Naval Engineering College, Devonport.


  • Glasgow University.
  • Royal Technical College.
  • Apprenticeship Fairfield Shipbuilding Yard, Govan, and Mavor and Coulson, Glasgow. Engineering experience at Electric Construction Co., Wolverhampton.
  • Teaching experience as Chief Assistant Electrical Dept., Royal Technical College, Glasgow.
  • Head of Electrical and, for some time, of Mechanical Dept., Technical College, Dundee.
  • Extra-Mural Lecturer of St. Andrew's University.
  • Then present appointment.

1914-18, R.G.A.(T); Staff Captain (Despatches).


  • "Alternating Current Machinery" (with J. R. Barr).
  • "Junior Electrical Laboratory" (with R. Rankin).
  • "Polyphase Electric Motors".

1922 B.Sc., M.I.E.E., Assoc.M.Inst.C.E., Head of Elec. Eng. Dept., Tech. Coll., Dundee, since 1910; and extra Mural Lecturer, Univ. Coll., Dundee. T. N.: 956 Dundee; b. 1881. Ed. Royal Technical College, Glasgow; Glasgow University. Professional Career: Apprenticeship-2 years Fairfield Shipbuilding Yard, Govan and 1 years Mayor & Coulson, Electrical Engineers, Glasgow; 3i years Electric Construction Co. Wolverhampton (Testing Department and Assistant Designer); 1 years Chief Assistant to Professor Magnus Maclean of the Electrical Engineering Department, Royal Technical College, Glasgow. Chief Work: Researches in design of Elec. Machinery, Petrol Electric Systems, Cyclostats, Static Balancing; Design and equipment of the Elec. Laboratories in the Technical College, Dundee. Publications: " Electrical Laboratory Course for Junior Students," by Archibald & Rankin; " Alternating Current Machinery," by Barr & Archibald; " Alternators," by Archibald; article contributed to " Modern Electrical Engineering," edited by Prof. Magnus Maclean. War Services.—Gazetted February II, 1915, as Second Lieutenant North Scottish R.G.A. (T.); Lieutenant, October, 1915. Overseas (France ), July, 1916, attached to 57th Siege Battery. Orderly Officer to Counter Battery Staff Officer, i 7th Corps, February, 1917. Staff Captain, Counter Battery, i7th Corps, October, 1917. Mentioned in Dispatches.

1941 Obituary [1]

ROBERT DOUGLAS ARCHIBALD, D.Sc., was born in Glasgow in 1881 and died in August, 1941.

He received his general education at the Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow, and his technical education at the Royal Technical College and the University of Glasgow. At the former institution he gained the Hart Scholarship and the Sir John Pender Gold Medal awarded to the best electrical student of the year.

His practical training was obtained with the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., and with Messrs. Mavor and Coulson.

Subsequently he joined the Electric Construction Co. as a tester, and later became an assistant designer to that company.

He began his teaching career as Lecturer and Chief Assistant to the late Dr. Magnus Maclean, Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Royal Technical College. In July, 1909, he was appointed Head of the Electrical Engineering Department in the Technical College, Dundee, which position he held until the end of 1922.

In 1923 he became Senior Lecturer and Head of the Electrical Engineering Department in the Royal Naval Engineering College, from which position he retired in July of this year. In conjunction with the late Mr. J. R. Barr he wrote and published "The Design of Alternating-Current Machinery," a book which has proved of great value to students. He also contributed a section on A.C. Generation in Dr. Maclean's book "Modern Electrical Engineering."

In 1936 he published a useful book on "Polyphase Induction Motors." Papers dealing with several of his independent researches and inventions have appeared in the Journal, notably "Regenerative Control of Series Motors by the use of Rectified Field Current."

Dr. Archibald was a keen and, in his earlier days, a very active member of The Institution, of which he was elected an Associate Member in 1909 and a Member in 1920. With Major H. Richardson he was instrumental in the formation of the Dundee Sub-Centre, of which he was Chairman in 1922-23. Later he served from 1927 to 1930 on the Committee of the Western Centre.

In the Great War of 1914-1918, he served for over 4 years in the Royal Artillery, in which he rose to the rank of Staff Captain and was mentioned in despatches. During the latter part of his life he did not enjoy good health, but, despite this, his interest and enthusiasm for his profession were as keen as ever. It is unfortunate that he was able to enjoy his retirement for only so short a time.

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