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Alexander George McKenzie Jack (1851-1927)
The death of Mr. Alexander George McKenzie Jack, which occurred in a nursing home on August 2 last, after a serious illness, removes a well-known figure from Sheffield engineering circles.
Mr. Jack, who until a few years ago had been deputy-chairman of Messrs. Hadfields, Limited, was the son of the late Mr. Alexander Jack, of Avoch, Scotland, and was born in 1851. He received his early education at the Presbyterian Schools, Woolwich, and in 1863, at the age of 12, he entered upon a seven years’ apprenticeship in the Engineering Department of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.
In 1873, he joined the United States Navy as an engineer, but only remained in that service for a short time. At the age of 24, he proceeded to China, to supervise the construction and subsequent operation of the Imperial Arsenal, Tientsin. He was appointed superintendent of the undertaking, a position which he retained for six years. While in China Mr. Jack gained an extensive knowledge of the Chinese language; he continued to study it as a hobby in after years, and was able to speak and write it with ease.
His long association with Messrs. Hadfields began in 1888, and he remained with that firm until his retirement in 1921. He was, in turn, works manager, general manager, director, managing director, and, finally, deputy-chairman. He did much towards the establishment of the 48-hour week at Messrs. Hadfields, which at the time was considered a very revolutionary change in Sheffield. After his retirement, he continued to serve the firm, with which he had been connected for 33 years, in a consulting and advisory capacity. For his services to the nation during the European War, Mr. Jack was appointed a Companion of the Order of the British Empire. He was a Justice of the Peace, and served for three years, from 1922 to 1925, on the Sheffield City Council.
He became a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1890, and was elected to full membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers on December 6, 1904.