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British Industrial History

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Robert Martin Chambers

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Robert Martin Chambers (1865-1949) of Chambers and Co and later Chambers Motors

1865 November 25th. Born in Tullynaskeagh, Downpatrick, Co. Down, the son of John Chambers, a farmer, and his wife and Ellen Martin. His brothers were John Henry Chambers (1867–1937) and Charles Edward Chambers (1873–1931)

Educated at Ballee school

Apprenticed at McIlwaine and Lewis.

Joined Davidson and Co

1894 Married Florence Walker - one son and three daughters

1897 Founded Chambers and Co with his brother Charles Edward Chambers

Following the closure of Chambers Motors, he designed and patented a range of bakery machinery.

1949 September 29th. Died.

1950 Obituary [1]

"ROBERT MARTIN CHAMBERS, who maintained a close connection with engineering in Belfast throughout his professional career, was a Member of the Institution for more than half a century, having been elected in 1896.

On the conclusion of a six years' apprenticeship with Messrs. Mcllwaine and Company, Ltd., Belfast, marine engineers, in 1887 which year he obtained a first-class honours certificate in engineering of the City and Guilds of London Institute, he was at an early age appointed manager of Messrs. Davidson and Company's Sirocco Works in the same city.

In 1898, in partnership with his brother, Mr. C. E. Chambers, he established Messrs. Chambers and Company, which later became (in 1908) Chambers Motors, Ltd. His activities were directed, at first, to the exploitation of his invention of an ingenious machine for wiring corks of mineral water bottles, a device which met with considerable success, being widely used by British manufacturers, and by some as far afield as Australia. It was, however, superseded by the crown cork. Mr. Chambers then turned his attention to the motor car, and as senior partner in conjunction with his two brothers, Messrs. C. E. and J. H. Chambers, put on the market in 1904 the first Chambers car, a two-cylinder two-seater.

It is of some interest to note that this early model had a three-speed epicyclic gear with steering column control. During the war of 1914-18 the firm was engaged on the production of munitions, the machinery for the manufacture of shells and hand-grenade parts being to Mr. Chambers' own design.

In 1931 he met with a serious motor car accident which necessitated his retirement from active participation in the firm. In the period between the two wars he found time to construct machinery for bakeries, and his pancake depositor has become the standard machine for this type of work, being in use in practically every important bakery in the United Kingdom.

Mr. R. M. Chambers, whose death occurred on 27th September 1949, at the age of eighty-three, was a foundation member and a past-president of the Belfast Association of Engineers."

1949 Obituary [2]

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