Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John Hewett

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John Hewett (1865-1928)


1928 Obituary [1]

JOHN HEWETT, B.A., born in 1865, was the eldest son of Col. Hewett, R.M.A., a distinguished Crimean veteran.

He was educated at the United Services College, Westward Ho, and King's College, London, an early memory of him at the former college being perpetuated as the fag rescued by "Stalky " in Kipling's "Stalky and Co."

His training, like that of most others in the early days of the electrical industry, was varied, the most valuable being that at Messrs. Siemens's works at Woolwich, supplemented by railway-engine building in England, pioneer generating-station work at Chiswick and Westminster, working as assistant to leading consulting engineers such as Sir James Szlumper, and finally a visit to Mexico, from which troublous land he carried, as a memento, a bullet in his neck for the rest of his life.

Returning, with ripe experience, to England he first entered the field of invention, being connected with the Chard Vitagraph, the first practical cinematograph, an electric hair dryer and a heat controller for restaurant purposes, all of which have now become standard products in a perfected form. The success of electric light for theatrical purposes provided a field for his enterprise and imagination, and he became responsible for the illumination of a series of theatres in England and France.

Subsequently he was associated with the firm of Harrap, Hewett and Duffield, consulting engineers specializing in cold storage.

He retired from the firm during the early part of the War to undertake services of national importance in connection with the manufacture of telephones and aeroplane engines and the confidential supervision of factories for the Ministry of Munitions. At the termination of hostilities he continued, under his own name, his work as consultant, in connection with special electric power applications, until his death, which occurred on the 7th January, 1928.

Outside his profession he had many interests, and was a pioneer in automobilism and one of the founders of the Royal Automobile Club. By his readiness at all times, in spite of personal sacrifice, to help others, he endeared himself to a large circle of professional and lay friends, who, while deploring his untimely death, will treasure his memory.

He joined the Institution in 1888 as an Associate, and was elected an Associate Member in 1899 and a Member in 1903.


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