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British Industrial History

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Norman MacLeod Bell

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Norman MacLeod Bell (1872-1948)

1949 Obituary [1]

"NORMAN MACLEOD BELL was born at Paisley in 1872 and at an early age went to Australia where he completed his general education at the Brisbane Grammar School. His apprenticeship was served with Messrs. Evans, Anderson and Phelan, Ltd., engineers, of Brisbane, and later with the Government Railways between 1889 and 1893.

He then returned to Scotland and after a three years' course in mechanical engineering at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, successively filled positions as draughtsman and designer to the Arrols Bridge and Roof Co and Messrs. A. and W. Smith, Ltd., of Glasgow, for whom he also acted as workshop manager.

On the conclusion of a short appointment as chief draughtsman and superintendent of outside works for Messrs. A. and P. Stevens, hydraulic engineers, he again left Scotland for Queensland and went into practice as a consulting engineer in Brisbane. For many years he was actively engaged on the design and supervision of important engineering schemes, especially in the gold fields, where his services as consultant were retained by many large mining concerns. He was also responsible for the introduction of electric lifts into Queensland. In 1924 he converted his business, which had long been highly successful, into a proprietary company and established the firm of Messrs. Norman Bell and Company (Pty.), Ltd., mechanical engineers and electrical contractors. In addition to lifts he installed large lighting plants for the State Government and the Commonwealth and was also interested in the supply of labour saving machinery and refrigerating plant.

In 1940 Mr. Bell disposed of his holding in Messrs. Norman Bell and Company to the British Electric Co, but continued to act as a director in the new management. Ill health, however, obliged him to retire in the following year. Mr. Bell, whose death occurred on 15th January 1948, was elected a Member of the Institution in 1920. He was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers."

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