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Rodolph Stuart O'Neil

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Rodolph Stuart O'Neil (1876-1937)

1937 Obituary [1]

RODOLPH STUART O'NEIL invented the rudder indicator gear associated with his name. He was the managing director of the Star-Port Company, of Kingston, formed for the marketing of his invention, which was fitted to a large number of ships, including the Empress of Britain, the Queen Mary, and all Canadian Pacific steamships of the Duchess and Bay classes. He also invented a steam valve in which the packing could be renewed under pressure.

Mr. O'Neil was born at Blackheath, Kent, in 1876. He served his apprenticeship from 1891 to 1893 with Messrs. Dixies, of Bermondsey, and from 1893 to 1897 in the Greenwich works of Messrs. J. Penn and Sons. In the latter year he became engineer in the steamships of the Atlantic Transport Company. After additional experience as marine engineer to the Tarkwa Government Railway, he was appointed in 1902 inspector of mains and machinery to the London Hydraulic Power Company. Three years later he joined Messrs. R. Harman and Company, Ltd., electrical and hydraulic engineers, of Stoke Newington, as works manager, and about this time he invented an improved change-speed gear for motor cars. He went to Southampton in 1907 as mechanical engineer to Messrs. Topham, Jones, and Railton, Ltd., and was placed in charge of the new 16-acre dock and of the Trafalgar Dry Dock contract.

Shortly before the War he patented a rapid indicator-cord adjuster; this was followed by the invention of his rudder indicator gear. During the War he served with the Admiralty as an expert on dredgers; he was later transferred to the War Office, where he was concerned with the anti-aircraft defences of London.

Mr. O'Neil, whose death occurred on 31st July 1937, was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1905 and was transferred to Membership in 1911.

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