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Charles Merson Davies

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Charles Merson Davies (1849-1904) of Dubs and Co

Locomotive Superintendent, Nagpur and Chhattisgarh State Railway, Nagpur, Central Provinces, India.

1904 Obituary [1]

CHARLES MERSON DAVIES was born at Newton Longville, Buckinghamshire, on 9th November 1819, being the second son of Mr. Charles Davies, who was for seventeen years an engineer on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway.

He was educated principally at Dollar Academy, Clackmannanshire, from 1860 to 1867, and in the latter year commenced an apprenticeship with Messrs. Dubs and Co., of Glasgow.

Having passed through the various shops and the drawing office, he went in 1871 as an improver in the running shed of the Caledonian Railway at Motherwell.

In September 1873 he went to India as mechanical engineer to Messrs. T. C. Glover and Co., contractors for the construction of the Rajputana State Railway from Agra to Nusserabad, and was engaged in the erection of the principal iron bridges on that railway until 1875, when he was appointed assistant locomotive superintendent of the some railway.

In 1877 he was in charge of the pilot engine which ran in advance of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales' train from Agra to Jeypore.

He next became locomotive, carriage, and wagon superintendent of the Holkar and Scindia-Neemuch State Railway in 1878, and officiated in the same capacity for six months in 1882 on the Rajputana State Railway.

He then transferred his services to the Nagpur and Chhattisgarh State Railway, which was afterwards designated the Bengal-Nagpur Railway.

In 1889 he visited Australia and Tasmania, and resigned his appointment in India in 1891, when he took up the post of chief engineer to Messrs. Dubs and Co., with whom he remained till his death.

Among his various inventions may be named an appliance for cooling railway carriages, which obtained a bronze medal at the Calcutta Exhibition in 1883; also a portable drilling machine for locomotive boilers, and a plural drilling machine for the same purpose, which was fully described in the Proceedings 1894, page 521, by Mr. J. W. Hulse during the discussion on Mr. Samuel Dixon's Paper on "Drilling Machines for Cylindrical Boiler Shells."

In 1893 he brought out a quadruple tapping machine for locomotive fire-boxes, which, together with the drills before mentioned, is in daily use at Messrs. Dubs' Works. Whilst in India he devoted much of his leisure to the designing and building of small sailing boats for use on the various lakes near which he was stationed; and since settling in Scotland his chief recreation was turning in ivory and African black wood, in which lie had executed some elaborate and delicate designs.

In the autumn of 1903 he was taken ill, and after great suffering and undergoing an operation, he gradually sank, his death taking place at his residence in Pollokshields, Glasgow, on 19th June 1904, in his fifty-fifth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1880; and he was also a Member of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.

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