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Alfred Seabold Eli Ackermann

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Alfred Seabold Eli Ackermann (1867-1951), Engineer. Secretary of the Society of Engineers

1951 Obituary [1]

THE death of Mr. Alfred S. E. Ackermann which occurred on April 7th at 9, Rotherwick Road, Golders Green, London, N.W.11, will be keenly regretted by his numerous friends in the engineering profession. Mr. Ackermann, who was in his eighty-fourth year, had practised in Westminster as a consultant for over forty years, and, for most of that period, he acted as secretary to the Society of Engineers.

A. S. E. Ackermann was born in London in 1867. He was educated at the South African College - now the University of Cape Town-and at the City and Guilds (Engineering) College, where at one time he was laboratory assistant to the late Professor W. C. Unwin. After a few years in engineering works, Ackermann started his consulting practice. His work included the testing and reporting upon all kinds of machinery and advising on fuel economy, boiler-house installations and problems concerned with noise and vibration. He was also greatly interested in the utilisation of solar energy, and in the course of his career made three visits to the U.S.A., mainly in connection with the erection and testing of plant devised for using solar energy.

In the first World War, Mr. Ackermann was attached to the Controlled Establishments Division of the Ministry of Munitions, his duties including the study of the war and pre-war work of the factories of controlled firms, and advising the Ministry on additional installations of plant and machinery.

Towards the end of the war he was called upon to act as Consulting Engineer to the Controller of National Aircraft Factories. When he resumed his own practice in 1919, Mr. Ackermann devoted a good deal of attention to "ancient lights," and among his inventions was a skymeter for use in cases arising from ancient lights disputes.

Mr. Ackermann was appointed honorary secretary of the Civil and Mechanical Engineers' Society in 1898, and a few years later he took up the secretaryship of the Society of Engineers. In 1910 there was an amalgamation of the two societies and Ackermann continued as secretary of the newly constituted Society of Engineers until his retirement in 1938. The successful work accomplished by the Society is in no small measure attributable to the keenness and energy with which Ackermann handled its affairs.

In recognition of his work and of his contributions to its "Proceedings," Mr. Ackermann received the Society Premium on four different occasions, and he was twice awarded a President's Gold Medal. Before his retirement he was elected to Honorary Fellowship of the Society of Engineers. Ackermann was also a Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute and an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and, from 1921 to 1923 was chairman of Convocation of the University of London. He will be remembered, too, as the author of two interesting little books entitled "Scientific Paradoxes and Problems" and "Popular Fallacies."

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