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British Industrial History

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Joseph Kincaid

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Joseph Kincaid (1834-1907)

1908 Obituary [1]

JOSEPH KINCAID was born in Dublin on the 12th November, 1834. His father, though not an engineer, was one of the early pioneers of railways, being a promoter of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, the first line to be constructed in Ireland, and of the Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland.

On account of delicate health, Joseph Kincaid's early tuition was entirely private, but he entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1852, graduating in Arts in 1857, and subsequently proceeding to the Master's degree.

On leaving college he obtained practical experience as assistant engineer on the Kingstown harbor works; in the construction of Mullaghmore harbour, Co. Sligo, as Engineer-in-charge; and on other works.

From 1860 to 1863, he served under Sir John Fowler and Mr. C. B. Vignoles, Past-Presidents, and was engaged at home and in Spain on the construction of the Tudela and Bilbao Railway and other undertakings. Be also carried out independently the lighting of Bilbao and of Lograno with oil-gas.

In 1864 he engaged in consulting practice, and was associated with many important undertakings at home and abroad. His name is more particularly identified, however, with the introduction and development of tramways in Great Britain and other countries; he was indeed one of the pioneers of this particular branch of engineering, having even prior to the Tramways Act of 1870 constructed a horse-tramway from Dublin to Black Rock. The earlier tramways were constructed with a shallow rail spiked to longitudinal wood sleepers, but Mr. Kincaid early recognized the defects of this mode of construction and introduced an entirely metallic system, which became known by his name, consisting of “tee” or “channel” shaped rails fixed on cast-iron chairs embedded in the concrete. This system continued in use for a number of years until ultimately displaced by the “girder” type of tramway rail now generally adopted. Mr. Kincaid was amongst the fist to introduce mechanical propulsion on tramways; first the steam-locomotive, then cable-traction, and ultimately electric traction.

He was responsible for a considerable mileage of tramways at home and abroad, including the first cable-tramway constructed in England, the Highgate Hill line. As an authority upon tramway matters he was frequently called upon to give evidence in parliamentary committee rooms and in arbitration cases. He was retained in most of the important cases which arose under the section of the Tramways Act authorizing local authorities to purchase at the expiration of 21 years the tramways constructed by companies. He was also consulted professionally in connection with railways and gasworks in England, on the Continent and in America.

In 1892 he associated with himself as partners, Mr. J. E. Waller and Mr. Edward Manville, and subsequently Mr. Philip Dawson joined the firm, which practised under the style of Kincaid, Waller, Manville and Dawson. Mr. Kincaid died after a few days’ illness at his London residence, on the 20th August, 1907, in his seventy-third year.

He was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 5th April, 1870, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 25th March, 1879.

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