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British Industrial History

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Thomas Edwin Bickle

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Thomas Edwin Bickle (1857-1898) of Massey and Bickle and Bickle and Co

1857 Born the son of Jebus Bickle

1861 Living at the Hayle Foundry, Hayle, Cornwall: Jebus Bickle (age 39 born St. Austell), Engineer. With his wife Catherine Bickle (age 33 born Padstow) and their four children; Henrietta Bickle (age 12 born St. Erth); Catherine Bickle (age 10 born St. Erth); Jebus Bickle (age 8 born St. Erth); and Thomas E. Bickle (age 3 born St. Erth).[1]

1890 Married in Plymouth to Annie Maria Bone

1891 Living in Stonehouse with his wife and shown as an Engineer and employer.[2]

1898 Obituary [3]

THOMAS EDWIN BICKLE was born at Hayle, Cornwall, on 5th December 1857, and after being educated there at a private school served his apprenticeship in the engineering works of Messrs. Harvey and Co., at the same time studying in the science classes held under the auspices of the Mining Association of Cornwall, and obtaining numerous prizes.

Subsequently he attended several courses of lectures in engineering subjects at South Kensington, and obtained the foremost position in steam and applied mechanics.

After considerable experience in erecting for Messrs. Harvey mining machinery in Cornwall and pumping machinery in London, he founded in 1888 the engineering works of Messrs. Bickle and Co., Plymouth, of which he was one of the managing directors, doing an extensive business in mining machinery for foreign mines, besides general engineering work at home.

Among the many mechanical contrivances that he devised was the percussive rock-drill known by his name, of great simplicity and strength, to which was awarded a certificate of honour in the competitive trials at the International Exhibition of Mining and Metallurgy held at the Crystal Palace in 1890 (Proceedings 1891, page 144 and Plate 37). After that competition he carried out a series of experiments in rock-drilling machinery, resulting in further improvements of the Bickle drill.

For some years he acted as consulting mechanical engineer to the St. John del Rey gold mines in Brazil; and in connection with his business had travelled in the mining districts of Canada, the United States of America, Mexico, South Africa, and other countries.

His death took place in Plymouth on 9th February 1898, at the age of forty, from an acute attack of pneumonia.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1892.

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