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British Industrial History

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Asplan Beldam

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Asplan Beldam (1841-1912)

1912 Obituary [1]

ASPLAN BELDAM was born at Bluntisham, Hunts, on 5th October 1841.

He served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson, locomotive engineers, of Leeds, since which time his life was spent wholly in marine engineering work.

He gained his first few years' experience at Messrs. Miller and Ravenhill's Works, Blackwall, Messrs. Lungley's, Deptford, with the General Steam Navigation Co., and with Messrs. John Penn and Sons, Greenwich, a portion of this time being spent in the engine-room at sea.

In 1865 he left the service of Messrs. Penn and Sons, and took the position of manager of the City of Worcester Locomotive and General Engineering Works. Two years later he was appointed manager of shipbuilding and engineering works at Northfleet, where he built and engined two merchant steamers on the compound principle; and in 1871 he brought out a boiler to work at a pressure of 150 lb. per square inch.

At the end of 1869 he joined the firm of Messrs. George Forrester and Co., Vauxhall Foundry, where he carried out some important contracts.

A few years later he accepted the position of superintendent engineer of the Flower Line of steamships; and in 1876 he commenced practice in London as consulting engineer. In this capacity he acted for the Castle Line (Messrs. Thomas Skinner and Sons), Messrs. Money Wigram and Sons, the Eastern Telegraph Co., and many other firms.

Amongst the well-known steamers built to his designs and under his supervision was the S.S. "Stirling Castle," which brought home from Hankow upwards of 6,000 tons of tea in the unprecedented time of twenty-eight days.

He was the founder of the business of the Beldam Packing and Rubber Co., and brought out many useful inventions, such as semi-metallic packings, metallic rings for high-pressures, and corrugated metallic valves for air and circulating pumps.

His death took place at his residence at Ealing on 16th December 1912, at the age of seventy-one.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1888; he was also a Member of the Institution of Naval Architects, and was the first President of the Institute of Marine Engineers.

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