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Alexander Grafton

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Alexander Grafton (1845-1907) founder of Grafton and Co


1907 Obituary [1]

ALEXANDER GRAFTON was born in London on 24th May 1845.

His engineering career began in 1862 when he became a pupil of the late Mr. S. W. Worssam, which lasted until 1865.

Then he went as assistant successively to Messrs. Perin et Cie. and Messrs. Joshua et Cie., of Paris.

From 1867 to 1879 he was a member of the staff of Messrs. Appleby Brothers, and for part of that time was massager of their Greenwich Works, subsequently acting as their representative in Egypt, in connection with a contract for the materials of the Soudan Railway.

From 1880 to 1882 he was a partner in the firm of Lecoq et Cie., at Hal.

In 1883 he founded the present firm of Grafton and Co., of Cannon Street, London.

Three years later he planned and built the Vulcan Works, Bedford, which he established in partnership with Mr. C. Q. Henriques; in 1891 the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Grafton carried on the business alone. He devoted his attention particularly to perfecting the design of the locomotive steam-crane, constructed on the horizontal or turntable principle and with the loose roller path. From his special designs over one thousand cranes have been constructed, and awards have been gained in London and elsewhere.

He had been in indifferent health for some years prior to his decease, which took place suddenly at his residence in Bedford, on 18th August 1907, at the age of sixty-two.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1878.


1907 Obituary [2]

ALEXANDER GRAFTON, born on the 24th May, 1845, served an apprenticeship of 3 years to the late Mr. Samuel Worssam and subsequently spent 2 years with engineering firms in Paris.

In January, 1867, he joined the staff of Messrs. Appleby Brothers, and remained with them for a period of 12 years. During part of this time he was assistant manager of the firm’s London works, and subsequently, for 4 years, he acted as their representative in Egypt, especially in connection with the Sudan railway contract.

Between 1880 and 1882 he was a partner in the firm of Messrs. Lecoq and Company, of Hal, Belgium.

In 1883 he founded the present firm of Grafton and Company at 113 Cannon Street, and 3 years later, in partnership with Mr. Henriques, he established the Vulcan Works, Bedford, which were designed and built by him. The partnership subsisted for about 5 years, and after its dissolution, Mr. Grafton carried on the business alone.

He devoted his attention particularly to perfecting the design of the locomotive steam-crane constructed on the horizontal or turn-table principle with which the name of his firm is closely associated. Among the improvements which he introduced may be mentioned the loose roller-path, now widely adopted on steam-cranes. Mr. Grafton’s designs for these appliances gained awards at several exhibitions and they formed the principal output of the Vulcan Works, the business of which developed considerably under Mr. Grafton’s able direction.

Latterly he did not enjoy good health, and his death, which was attributed to syncope, occurred suddenly on the 18th August, 1907, at Bedford.

Mr. Grafton was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 5th February, 1878, and was subsequently placed in the class of Associate Members.


1907 Obituary.[3]




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