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British Industrial History

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William George Walker

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William George Walker (1865-1940) Wh.Ex., M.I.Mech.E., A.M. Inst. C.E. Chartered Civil Engr., Chartered Mech. Engr.

Professor of Steam and Machine Construction at Birkbeck Coll.

Lecturer on Eng. at University of Bristol.

1939 Principally engaged in the ventilation of buildings, elect. works, supply of fans or dynamometers to Government depts., municipalities, rlys., industrial undertakings, etc.

1940 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM GEORGE WALKER became well known as the inventor of the Walker patent fan brake dynamometer, for which he received a gold medal at the Imperial International Exhibition at the White City in 1909. He was also the inventor of a reversible turbine, and introduced several improvements in the design of ventilating fans.

He was born at Eaton Hall, Herefordshire, in 1865 and received his general education at Nottingham High School, and afterwards studied at University College, Nottingham. During 1882-7 he served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Goddard and Massey, of Nottingham, and in 1888 he obtained an appointment with Messrs. Humphrys, Tennant and Company, marine engineers, of London. In the following year he was awarded a Whitworth Exhibition and subsequently went to Bristol, where he lectured on engineering subjects at the University. He went into business on his own account in 1895 and founded the firm of W. G. Walker and Company, electrical and mechanical engineers, Westminster; and he continued to take an active part in the management of the firm until his death.

During 1905 he was also an evening lecturer at Birkbeck College, London. In 1912 he formed another company, The Reversible Turbines, Ltd., for the marketing of the new form of turbine he had invented. He was actively interested in practically all branches of engineering, and was attracted to the study of aeronautics when flying was in its infancy. He flew with Count von Zeppelin in the first Zeppelin airship over Lake Constance, and made several balloon ascents. Mr. Walker contributed a large number of papers on engineering subjects to various scientific societies, and visited Canada in 1897, where he presented a paper on speed trials of ships and marine engines before the British Association in Toronto.

With the aid of a Government grant, he also carried out experiments on the resistance of surfaces in air and the lifting power of air propellers, the results of which were published by the Royal Society between 1900 and 1902. He was a Member of the Institution for no less than fifty years, having been elected in 1890. In addition he was an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

He contributed a paper on "Experiments on the Arrangement of the Surface of a Screw Propeller" to the Institution in 1892; and in 1897 he presented two papers dealing with "Experiments upon Propeller Ventilating Fans". He also read several papers before the British Association, dealing with such diverse subjects as street lighting by electric incandescent lamps, heat transfer, and hydraulic power transmission. Mr. Walker's death occurred at Bromley, Kent, on 8th January 1940.

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