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British Industrial History

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John Wilfred Rodger

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John Wilfred Rodger (1887-1956), managing director of Bruce Peebles and Co

1956 Obituary [1]

MR. JOHN WILFRED RODGER, who was managing director of Bruce Peebles and Co., Ltd., died in Edinburgh on August 16th. He had been with the company thirty-two years.

John Rodger was born at Warrenpoint, Co. Down, in 1887, and was educated in Northern Ireland. On leaving school he went to study mechanical and electrical engineering at Bolton Technical School, Manchester School of Technology, Woolwich Polytechnic and Goldsmith's College.

He served an engineering apprenticeship with Paterson Cooper and Co., and then continued his practical training with Royce, Ltd., Manchester.

His experience was broadened by his subsequent work with Johnson and Phillips, Ltd., in various capacities in the testing, design and sales departments. Specialisation in transformers came with his appointment as chief transformer designer with Ferranti, Ltd., and later with the Hackbridge Electric Construction Company, Ltd.

In 1924 Mr. Rodger joined Bruce Peebles and Co., Ltd., to start and develop the manufacture of transformers, for the first time in Scotland. There he was responsible for equipping and managing the transformer factory, which has been extended six times since it was first established.

When he became works manager and chief engineer of the company in 1933 he assumed administrative and technical responsibility for the design and manufacturing departments for all the company's products.

In 1941 he was elected to the board of directors and was appointed general manager of the company in 1943 and managing director in 1946. Export markets became his particular interest and his knowledge of overseas requirements was obtained at first hand by extensive tours abroad.

Mr. Rodger was a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a past president of the Scottish Engineering Employers' Association, vice-president of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, and a member of council of the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers' Association.

Educational matters claimed much of his attention and he was a member of the I. E. E. joint committee for National Certificates and Diplomas in Electrical Engineering (Scotland) and a governor of Heriot Watt College.

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