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British Industrial History

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George Hepburn

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George Hepburn (1841-1909)

1909 Obituary [1]

GEORGE HEPBURN was born at Cults, Aberdeenshire, on 16th November 1841, where he received his early education, afterwards passing through the course at the local Mechanics' Institute.

He was then apprenticed to his father, who was a millwright.

On the completion of his time ho served for three years as apprentice to the Clyde firm of Messrs. Randolph, Elder and Co. While there he had charge of the erection of the first compound marine engines made on the two-cylinder principle. These engines were fitted in the steamer "Murillo," owned by Messrs. MacAndrew and Co., of Liverpool, and in 1863 he was made chief engineer of the same steamer.

After sailing in this vessel for two years he was appointed by Messrs. MacAndrew and Co. to the post of manager of their liquorice works at Frodsham, but in 1866, when this business was transferred to the United States, he went to Liverpool as superintending engineer to the same firm. This position he held for eleven years, during which time he designed thirty-one vessels.

In 1877 he started on his own account as naval architect and consulting engineer, and soon acquired a large practice. He became consulting engineer to Messrs. R. Singlehurst and Co., of the Red Cross Line, Messrs. Phelps Brothers, Messrs. Hatton and Cookson, amongst others, and designed numerous Passenger and cargo steamers for British and foreign owners.

He was the first to adopt corrugated furnaces in marine boilers, and was among the first to bring out a marine-engine governor actuated by a steam-cylinder; he invented numerous engineering equipments, such as ebonite air-pump valves, expansion rings for boilers, etc.

As arbitrator and scientific witness, he had an extensive business, and was associated in the latter capacity with the trials connected with the "Dolpho," "Kimberley," "Austral," and "City of Paris." He held many business positions apart from those associated with his own firm, being, amongst others, chairman of Hall's Patent Anchor Co.

His death took place at his residence in Liverpool on 29th November 1909, at the age of sixty-eight.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1875; he was also a Member of the Institution of Naval Architects, and of the Institute of Marine Engineers.

Obituary 1909 [2]

. . . naval architect and consulting engineer, of Liverpool . . . he served for three years as apprentice to the Clyde firm of Randolph, Elder and Co . . . he was made by Messrs. MacAndrew manager of their liquorice works at Frodsham . . . He was made consulting engineer to the firms of Phelp Brothers, Hatton and Cookson, Job Brothers, John Glynn and Sons, and Taylor, Cameron and Co. amongst others . . . [more]

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