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Charles Smith (1843-1882)

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Charles Smith (1843-1882)


1883 Obituary [1]

CHARLES SMITH was a native of Arbroath in Forfarshire, having been born at Latham Grange on 5th September 1843.

He was educated at Arbroath High School, and at the age of sixteen was apprenticed to Messrs. Randolph Elder and Co., engineers, Glasgow. About three years later he was permitted to suspend his apprenticeship, and to go for a time to study civil engineering at Dollar College near Stirling.

After remaining there for one session he returned to Glasgow in 1862 to complete his apprenticeship, and rapidly became one of the leading draughtsmen in Messrs. Randolph Elder and Co.'s office.

When just on the point of completing his twenty-first year he was appointed chief draughtsman at the works of Messrs. James Howden and Co., marine engineers, Glasgow.

Five months later he returned to his former employers (now Messrs. John Elder and Co.) as chief draughtsman, and remained about five years in that position, acquiring most valuable experience in designing. all kinds of machinery for marine propulsion.

His career in Glasgow was coeval with the rise and development of the compound engine, of which he was a staunch advocate; and. when in 1870 he succeeded Mr. G. W. Jaffrey as manager at Messrs. Thomas Richardson and Sons' works at Hartlepool, he introduced there the type of compound engine, with link-motion valve gear and horizontal surface-condenser, which has become almost universally adopted. He was also a firm advocate of the double-ended cylindrical multi-tubular marine boiler, having repeatedly proved its superiority as an economical steam generator over the single-ended type; and so successful was his practice in this respect that by far the greater number of vessels fitted out by Messrs. Thomas Richardson and Sons are now specified by their owners to be furnished with them.

Although retaining the same general type of engine, Mr. Smith introduced numerous improvements in detail, especially of late years, and kept the machinery produced at Hartlepool in the very front rank of marine engineering practice.

In 1878 he became a partner in the firm of Messrs. Thomas Richardson and Sons. He was also a town councillor of Hartlepool, and held other public offices. He was for some years President of the Glasgow Association of Engineers, and was a member of Council of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers. He became a Member of the Institution in 1873.

Amongst works not connected with marine engineering may mentioned a design for "twin boilers" (illustrated in "Engineering" 11 January 1878); also a paper read before the Cleveland Institution of Engineers in November 1877, on "A facile mode of Compounding Engines."

In 1873 he proposed a system of crossing navigable channels at the ground level, which he called the "bridge ferry." It consisted of a "high level" bridge carried on columns; along this was drawn a truck of large dimensions, from the corners of which was suspended by crossed wire-ropes or chains a platform or carriage to accommodate passengers, vehicles, &c. (see " Engineering," 25 July 1873).

In character Mr. Smith combined with a brilliant intellect a keen observation and extraordinary powers of physical and mental endurance. His great capacity for painstaking in matters of minute detail contributed largely to his success as an engineer.

Having suffered from sleeplessness he went abroad in May 1882, and on 12th June was unfortunately drowned while bathing in the Lake of Lucerne, at the early age of barely thirty-nine.


1882 Obituary [2]

Mr. CHARLES SMITH was a native of Arbroath, in Forfarshire, and was born on September 5, 1843. When sixteen years of age, he was apprenticed to Messrs. Randolph, Elder, & Co., engineers, Glasgow, and about three years later was taken into the drawing-office, where he soon took the position of one of the leading draughtsmen.

After completing his apprenticeship, he was appointed chief draughtsman to Messrs. James Howden & Co., Glasgow, and about five months later he became chief draughtsman at Messrs. Randolph, Elder, & Co.'s Works in Glasgow, being then only twenty-one years of age.

In 1870, when in his twenty-seventh year, he succeeded Mr. G. W. Jaffrey as manager at the Engineering and Shipbuilding Works of Messrs. T. Richardson & Sons, Hartlepool, in which firm he became a partner seven years later. He was a strong advocate of the compound type of engines, and also of the double-ended class of marine boilers. He introduced. numerous improvements in matters of detail, and earned for the work produced at Hartlepool a high reputation.

Mr. Smith was a member of the Iron and Steel Institute, of the Council of the Cleveland Institution of Engineers, and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was only in his thirty-ninth year when he died suddenly at Lucerne on the 12th June last.


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