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British Industrial History

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Thomas Midelton

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Thomas Midelton (1848-1894)

1894 Obituary [1]

THOMAS MIDELTON was born at Taunton in 1848.

He early showed an inclination for mechanical engineering, and after a short time spent in a lawyer's office he served his apprenticeship in the workshops of the Great Western Railway at New Swindon for five years under the late Sir Daniel Gooch and Mr. William F. Gooch.

He then went to London, and obtained a situation on the Great Eastern Railway; but soon afterwards he was offered by Mr. William F. Gooch a position as draughtsman in the Vulcan Foundry. Here he designed many locomotives and gained wide experience.

In 1873 he read a paper on "Patent Law Reform" before the London Society of Foremen Engineers; and the principles therein expressed have since been embodied in the patent laws.

In 1884 the late Sir Alexander Stuart consulted him, and many of his suggestions were incorporated in the patent laws of New South Wales.

After being assistant foreman of the Stratford running sheds of the Great Eastern Railway, and then chief foreman, he became chief engineer to the Vacuum Brake Co.

He was offered the position of engineer and locomotive superintendent to the Isle of Man Railway, but preferred to take in 1876 a similar appointment on the Tasmanian Main Line Railway.

In 1879 he went to New South Wales as a draughtsman in the railway department, until he was appointed locomotive overseer in 1882. After having temporary charge of the locomotive department and the tramways ho was given permanent charge of the latter in 1886.

In 1888 he was promoted to be locomotive engineer, with entire charge of the locomotive and mechanical engineering branches of both the railways and the tramways; and this position he held until his retirement in 1889.

His death took place at his residence in Sydney on 31st January 1894, at the age of forty-six.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1886.

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