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William Owen (1810-1881)

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William Owen (1810-1881) of Sandford, Owen and Watson, Sandford and Owen, Midland Wagon Co and Owen's Patent Wheel, Tyre and Axle Co

1881 January 20th. Died

1881 Obituary [1]

MR. WILLIAM OWEN was a native of Rotherham, where his father, Mr. Luke Owen, carried on business as a maltster. He was apprenticed to the pattern-making business with Sandford and Yates, at the Phoenix Foundry, in Greasborough Road, and retained his connection with that establishment until the day of his death.

In 1825, two years after he had joined the business, he was one of thirty men and boys exclusively engaged in the making of cast-iron goods. Other branches of the iron trade were acquired by the firm, and for some years he acted as their traveller.

In 1832 he was admitted a partner in the business, and took the management of the forge and wrought-iron goods department.

Ultimately Mr. Owen became the sole proprietor of the Phoenix Works, and carried on the business alone till March 1864, when the works were transferred to a limited liability company, of which he was appointed chairman and managing director, a position which he filled for eight or nine years.

Mr. Owen was the author of several valuable inventions for making solid wrought-iron wheels and tires. He took great interest in the welfare of the Royal Agricultural Society, and for many years officiated as one of their judges for machinery. He was one of the promoters of the Midland Wagon Company, and was for some years its chairman.

Mr. Owen was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers on the 3rd of March, 1867.

He died at Rotherham, after a lingering illness, on the 20th of January, 1881, aged seventy years, regretted alike by his friends and workmen.

1882 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM OWEN was born at Rotherham on 23rd March 1810; and in 1823 was apprenticed to the pattern-making business with Messrs. Sandford and Yates, Phoenix Foundry, in that town.

Subsequently for some years he acted as traveller to the firm, in which he became a partner in 1832, and then took the management of the forge and wrought-iron department.

To the manufacture of large forgings for marine engines, which had been commenced there in 1831, was added in 1836 that of railway wheels and axles.

In 1838 the firm became Messrs. Sandford and Owen, and in 1852 Mr. Owen became sole proprietor of the works.

From 1863, having previously disposed of these works, he carried on the manufacture of stove-grates, kitchen-ranges, and general castings, at the Wheathill Foundry.

He invented several valuable improvements in the manufacture of solid wrought-iron wheels and tyres; and was for some years chairman of the Midland Wagon Company, formed by himself and others for purchasing and hiring out railway wagons.

His death took place at his residence, Clifton House, Rotherham, on 20th January 1881, in the seventy-first year of his age.

He was one the original Members of the Institution upon its formation in 1817.

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