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British Industrial History

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Alfred Wiseman (1863-1948)

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Alfred Wiseman (1862-1948) of Alfred Wiseman and later Alfred Wiseman and Co.

1862 Born at Gillingham, Kent, the son of Arthur Howard Wiseman, a Shipwright, and his wife Mary Ann Kennard

Apprentice with Aveling and Porter, Rochester (7 years)

Draughtsman in Chatham Dockyard (2 years)

Representing engineer to John Bell and Son (5 years)

Partner in an engineering shop in Northampton

c.1892 Joined Robey and Co as one of their representation engineers

1893 Agent on behalf of Robey and Co in the Midland Counties; of 45 Princess Road, Edgbaston.[1]

1896 Became an Associate of I Mech E

1898 Left Robey's and set up his own business Electric Tramway Equipment Co. Set up works in Conybere Street, Birmingham, using his own design of machines

1901 Living at 45 Princess Road, Edgbaston: Alfred Wiseman (age 37 born Chatham), Electrical Engineer - Employer. With his wife Emily A. Wiseman (age 35 born Gravesend) and their daughter Gladys M. Wiseman (age 11 born Northampton).[2]

1902 of 138 and 140, Conybere Street, Birmingham

1903 Purchased additional works in Glover Street for expansion, particularly making switchboards for tramways but also established gear cutting machinery.

1903 Proposed for membership of I Mech E

1911 Living at 11 Strensham Hill, Moseley: Alfred Wiseman (age 46 born Gillingham), Electrical Engineer - Tramway Industry - Employer. With his wife Emily Annie Wiseman (age 43 born Gravesend) and their daughter Gladys Mary Wiseman (age 20 born Northampton). One servant. [3]

1948 November 22nd. Died in Birmingham. Of 31 Forest Road, Moseley. Probate to his widow Gladys Mary Arthur and Alfred John Arthur, Company Director.


1949 Obituary [4]

"ALFRED WISEMAN was the founder, managing director, and chairman of Messrs. Alfred Wiseman and Company, Ltd., of Birmingham, and had been head of the firm for over half a century. He will be remembered as a pioneer in the gear-making industry.

On the completion of a seven years' apprenticeship with Messrs. Aveling and Porter, Ltd., of Rochester, in 1883, he was employed for the next two years as a designer and draughtsman in H.M. Dockyard at Chatham.

He then took a position as engineering representative for the Bell's Asbestos Company, which he relinquished in 1890 to take up an appointment as engineer to Messrs. Robey and Company, Ltd., of Lincoln, where he first gained an insight into traction engineering work.

It was in 1896 that he established and personally laid out the Glover Street Works at Birmingham, the construction of the special machinery being entirely to his own design. After many experiments he was successful in developing the Wiseman Grade C traction gear with its exceptional wearing qualities, which in no small measure contributed to the high performance of present-day electric traction. These results were obtained by the use of a non-alloy carbon steel which was heat-treated in such a way as practically to eliminate distortion. When the Wiseman traction gear was firmly established, Mr. Wiseman turned his attention to industrial units and over the past twenty five years the firm has expanded and now also manufactures all types of reduction gear units. Mr. Wiseman lived to see his business reach the anniversary of its jubilee and continued to direct its activities until his death, which occurred on 22nd November 1948, at the age of eighty-six.

During the war of 1939-45, although well advanced in years, he shouldered the responsibilities of the chairmanship of the Gear Manufacturers' Export Group, which was sponsored by the Board of Trade. In 1943 he became chairman of the newly formed British Gear Manufacturers' Association and held office for three years.

His long association with the Institution dated back to 1896 when he was elected an Associate Member. He was transferred to Membership in 1903."


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 27 May 1893
  2. 1901 Census
  3. 1911 Census
  4. 1949 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  • Mechanical Engineer Records