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British Industrial History

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William Sisson

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William Sisson (1853-1935), chairman of W. Sisson and Co

1853 Born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Worked for R. and W. Hawthorn

1878 Joined Cox and Co as manager of the engine works

1889 Took over J. J. Seekings and Co and was joined by his brother Arthur White Sisson

1935 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM SISSON was the founder and chairman of Messrs. William Sisson and Company, Ltd., of Gloucester, engineers and builders of high-speed steam engines.

He was born at Gateshead on Tyne in 1853 and served a five years' apprenticeship, commencing in 1869, with Messrs. R. and W. Hawthorn. He then obtained a Whitworth scholarship, and studied first at the College of Physical Science, Newcastle, and subsequently at the Royal College of Science, Dublin.

He later returned to Messrs. Hawthorn as a draughtsman, but in 1878 he became general manager of the engineering and shipbuilding works of Messrs. Cox and Company, of Falmouth, where the experience he gained in marine work subsequently proved extremely valuable.

In 1889 he went into business on his own account, and took over the marine engineering firm of Messrs. J. J. Seekings and Company; his brother, Mr. Arthur W. Sisson, joined him later in this undertaking.

Mr. Sisson specialized in the development of high-speed steam engine design, in connexion with which he took out many patents, including a shaft governor and a superheater, and he also supervised the marine and stationary engine work of the firm. He was responsible for the designs of hulls of various types of vessels, including yachts, launches, tugs, and shallow- draught steamships, and for some years practised as a consulting engineer and naval architect. In addition he was sometimes engaged as a technical expert or arbitrator.

In 1904 the firm was made a limited liability company, and new works were built at Barnwood, near Gloucester.

Mr. Sisson took an active part in educational schemes, and was a member of the Gloucester Technical Schools Committee and a governor of the Gloucester United Schools.

He was elected a member of the Institution in 1881, no less than fifty-four years ago. He was Chairman of the Western Branch in 1929 and 1930, in which capacity he also served upon the Council. In addition he was a Member of the Institution of Naval Architects.

His death occurred on 22nd February 1935.

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