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Walter George McMillan

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Walter George McMillan (c1861-1904), Secretary of the Institution of Electrical Engineers

1904 Obituary [1]

WALTER GEORGE McMILLAN, Secretary of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, died at his residence at Streatham on May 16, 1904, at the age of 43. He was educated at King's College School' and King's College, and on leaving school he devoted his attention to metallurgy, after a short interval spent in the office of an accountant. He became private assistant to Professor Huntington at his old college, at which, in 1883, he was appointed demonstrator.

In 1888 he obtained an appointment under the Indian Government as chemist and metallurgist to the Cossipore Ordnance Factories near Calcutta, which he held for five years.

On his return to England he was appointed lecturer in metallurgy at the Mason College, Birmingham.

In 1897 he was appointed to the Secretaryship of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a position he continued to hold until his death. He was well known as a writer on subjects connected with electro-metallurgy, and was the author of two books dealing with electro-metallurgy and electro-plating respectively, as well as of articles in the supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He was a vice-president of the South Staffordshire Institute of Iron and Steel Works Managers, and on the occasion of the visit of the Iron and Steel Institute to Birmingham in 1895 he organised an exhibition illustrating the industries of Birmingham, for which he received the thanks of the members. He prepared for the Institute Journal a detailed catalogue of this exhibition. To the transactions of the Institute he also contributed, in 1894, a paper on colour-gauges for carbon testing. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1894.

1904 Obituary 1904 [2]

"...educated at. King's College School, and King's College, London, and obtained the Daniell Research Scholarship in 1880. After being for a year with an accountant in order to obtain a knowledge of business methods, he was, in 1882, given the post of private secretary to the professor of metallurgy in King's College where in the following year, he was made demonstrator of metallurgy. He held this position till 1888. In that year he went out to India to take up an appointment under the Indian Government as chemist and metallurgist to the Cossipore Ordnance factories, near Calcutta. On his return to England at the expiry of his term of agreement, five years later, he was immediately appointed to the lectureship in metallurgy at Mason's College, Birmingham. It was this position..."[More].

1904 Obituary [3]

WALTER GEORGE McMILLAN, who had been Secretary of this Institution since 1897, died very suddenly on January 31, 1904. Born on January 3, 1861, he passed first through King's College School, and subsequently entered King's College, London. Here he became a prominent student in the Chemical Department, and as the result of a research on the effect of the electric spark on mixtures of oxygen and nitrogen, he was awarded the Daniell Scholarship in 1880. His student's course was followed by a year's work in the office of an accountant, which afforded a good opportunity for gaining some experience in business methods, after which he returned to scientific work and joined the staff of King's College, assisting Professor Thomson in his lectures at Queen's College, and becoming Demonstrator of Metallurgy at King's College. He took a marked interest in students' affairs, being President of the Students' Scientific Society, and was, indeed, an excellent organiser of any of their societies having pure and applied science as an object. But his energies were by no means restricted to the College, for he did a large amount of most valuable charitable work which was only known to his most intimate friends. He also held scientific evenings for poor boys, and gave lectures on applied science to working men, following these up with competitions. In i888*Mr. McMillan was appointed by the Indian Government for five years as chemist and metallurgist to the Cossipore Ordnance Factories, near Calcutta. While in India he acted as Examiner in Chemistry to the University of Calcutta, and was also appointed a Municipal Commissioner of Cossipore-Chitpore, a manufacturing suburb of Calcutta.

Upon his return from India, Mr. McMillan was appointed to a Lectureship in Metallurgy at Mason's College, Birmingham, and about this time he turned his attention more to literature. He had already written with Professor Huntington the book on "Metals" in Longman's "Text Books of Science" Series, but having since that time paid attention to electrical methods, he wrote in 1890 a "Treatise on Electro-Metallurgy"; and in 1897 he translated Dr. Borchers' book on "Elektro-Metallurgie," adding notes thereto and calling it "Electric Smelting and Refining," a fresh edition of which was in the press at the time of his death. He also contributed the articles on Electrochemistry and Electro-Metallurgy in the recently issued supplement of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica."

He was an abstractor of the Society of Chemical Industry, a Fellow of the Chemical Society and of the Institute of Chemistry, a member of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy; and in 1897 he was elected Vice-President of the South Staffordshire Institute of Iron and Steel Works Managers.

So far Mr. McMillan was well known in the chemical world; but in 1897 he made a complete change in his life by accepting the post of Secretary of this Institution, undertaking also the editing of the Journal. The membership of the Institution was then less than 3,000, but since that time it has increased to over 5,000, and the work has quadrupled. There have also been many important changes, such as the formation of the class of Associate Members, the inauguration of Local Sections, the introduction of foreign visits, the formation of Sectional Committees (a suggestion of his own), and the first effective steps in securing a home of its own for the Institution. These were apparent to all. But it was, of course, to those who saw the inner working of the Institution that the value of Mr. McMillan's work was most apparent. There never seemed too much work to be done.

Even at the busiest times he was at the disposal of every one, always tactful, always courteous, and thus he became as much a personal friend as the representative of the Institution. No detail was too small for his attention. If a difficult question had to be decided, every possible kind of information had been carefully prepared to aid the solution. Whatever was undertaken, whether a dinner, a concert, or a foreign visit, every detail was thought out before the event, and....[more]

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