Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Robert Malcolm Campbell

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Robert Malcolm Campbell (c1858-1941)

1900 Works manager of Paris Singer Ltd

1904 August. Appointed Works Manager at C. S. Rolls and Co.[1]

1942 Obituary [2]

ROBERT MALCOLM CAMPBELL had a long and varied career, chiefly concerned with prime movers and road transport. On the completion of his apprenticeship, which he served from 1873 to 1878, with Messrs. Garvie, Junior, and Company in their Iron Foundry and Engineering Works in Aberdeen, he became a journeyman, and later general foreman in the millwrights' department of Messrs. Harper and Company.

In 1881 he came to London as general foreman to the Southgate Engineering Company, where he received his first practical experience in electrical engineering, including the first public lighting of that district. He also undertook the manufacture of experimental arc and incandescent lamps. From 1883 to 1887 he was foreman to the British Gas Engine and Engineering Company, Ltd., and in that capacity he installed several electric lighting plants. After holding an appointment as general foreman to the Noble Manufacturing Company, Ltd., until 1889, he was made chief erector in the dynamo and motor department of Messrs. W. T. Goolden and Company.

He was works manager to Messrs. Durham and Moysey, general engineers, Bow Road, E., for two years and later held the position as chief mechanical and electrical engineer to the Bedson Wire Mills Company, Middlesbrough, until 1895. His next post, which he held until 1900, was that of works manager to the Dawson Gas Engineering Syndicate, Ltd., later styled Paris Singer, Ltd., specialists in high-speed direct-coupled gas engines and dynamos. The firm equipped the Manor Street (Clapham) Electric Station which, though small, was the first public lighting station to be driven by high-speed vertical gas engines with direct-coupled dynamos.

In 1900 Mr. Campbell was appointed engineer and general manager to the City and Suburban Electric Carriage Company. On leaving the firm in 1904, he began his long connection with the motor car industry. He was works manager to Messrs. Rolls-Royce, Ltd., and later held a similar position with Sheffield Simplex Motors until 1907, when he became works and general manager of the Motor Manufacturing Company, Ltd., of Manor Street, Clapham. As a motoring pioneer he was reputed to be the first man to run a motor car from London to Aberdeen. He subsequently became sole British representative of the Atlas Diesel Company, Ltd., of Stockholm, and held that appointment for thirty-three years.

Mr. Campbell, whose death occurred on 5th August 1941, at the age of 83, was elected a Member of the Institution in 1899.

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