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Sir Edward Hamer Carbutt (1838–1905), first baronet, an engineer, twice mayor of Leeds, and Liberal MP for Monmouth from 1880 to 1886
1879 Retired from the business
1880 Member of Parliament for Monmouth
1887-8 President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
1905 Obituary 
Sir EDWARD HAMER CARBUTT, Bart., was born at Chapel Allerton, Leeds, on 22nd July 1837, being the youngest son of the late Mr. Francis Carbutt, who was for nearly twenty-five years a director of the Midland Railway Co. It was in the Derby workshops of this company that he started his pupilage at the age of sixteen, under the late Mr. Matthew Kirtley.
At the end of 1858 he was sent to Messrs. Palmer's Works at Jarrow-on-Tyne, where he continued for nearly two years, returning then, as outdoor foreman in the locomotive department, to the works where he had previously served his apprenticeship.
When twenty-four years of age, he entered into partnership with Mr. Robinson Thwaites in the Vulcan Iron Works at Bradford. The partnership prospered, and the firm soon acquired a high reputation for machinery used in the production and manufacture of iron and steel. Perhaps the best known product of these Works was steam-hammers, and one of the more noticeable departures from ordinary practice was the substitution of wrought-iron frames for the heavy castings previously used.
At the Paris Exhibition of 1867 he was greatly impressed with the design and efficiency of the Roots blower, and consequently entered upon its manufacture extensively. It was on this subject that he read his first Paper before this Institution.
His working connection with the firm continued till 1879, when, being then only forty-one years of age, he retired from active participation in its management. For some years previously he had found time to devote himself to the municipal work of his native town, having served as a member of the Town Council in 1876 and 1877, and in the following year he became Mayor of Leeds.
He next turned his attention towards Parliament, and was elected as a Liberal Member for the Monmouth Boroughs in 1880. Among one of the many important actions with which be was connected was his agitation in favour of adding to the ordnance-producing facilities of this country. In consequence, Lord Morley's Committee was appointed, with the result that there was not only a re-organization of Woolwich Arsenal, but a considerable development of the facilities in existing private ordnance works, and one or two firms were induced to lay down extensive plant for the manufacture of the heaviest ordnance.
At the same time he succeeded in inducing the Government to appoint a civilian as Director-General of Ordnance Factories in the person of the late Sir William Anderson.
Another question to which he succeeded in directing Government attention was the need for the extension of the Indian railways; a committee was appointed, under Lord George Hamilton, to investigate the matter, and its report was in favour of the extensions which he had advocated. He also worked hard to improve the conditions of work of the engineers associated with the Public Works Department of India, and his efforts met with considerable success. He was in Parliament for six years, having failed to retain his seat in 1886, and then he devoted his attention more to technical matters and to promoting the success of various exhibitions. He was a member of the British Royal Commission appointed in connection with the Paris Exhibition of 1900.
He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1860, and first entered the Council in 1875, becoming a Vice-President in 1877. In 1887 and 1888 he occupied the Presidential Chair, and the Summer Meetings of 1887, held in Edinburgh, and 1888 in Dublin, were particularly successful. His Address, delivered at the Spring Meeting in 1887, dealt with "Fifty Years' Progress in Gun Making," and the one delivered at the Annual General Meeting in the following year referred chiefly to the "Re-organization of Woolwich Arsenal." His Address at the Dublin Summer Meeting directed attention to the condition of the industries and trade of Ireland.
In 1891, in conjunction with Mr. Henry Davey, he contributed a Paper on "Recent Trials of Rock Drills," which had been made during the summer exhibition of Mining and Metallurgy at the Crystal Palace in the previous year.
He was nominated in 1889 a representative of this Institution on the General Council of the National Physical Laboratory, his nomination being confirmed by the Royal Society, and at the expiration of his term of office in this capacity, the Royal Society intimated that it would be glad to re-nominate him if ho were re-elected by the Institution.
For a number of years he was a Member of Council of the Iron and Steel Institute, and represented that Society on the Departmental Committee on the Royal College of Science. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The honour of a Baronetcy was conferred upon him in 1892, and he was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy-Lieutenant for the County of Surrey, discharging in 18961897 the functions of High Sheriff.
His death took place suddenly from heart failure at his country residence at Cranley, Surrey, on 8th October 1905, at the age of sixty-eight.
1906 Obituary 
SIR EDWARD HAMER CARBUTT, Bart., died at his residence at Cranleigh, near Guildford, on the 8th October, 1905, in his sixty-eighth year.
The younger son of the late Mr. Francis Carbutt, of Chapel Allerton, near Leeds, the subject of this notice was born on the 22nd July, 1838, and obtained his engineering training in the locomotive department of the Midland Railway, and at Messrs. Palmer’s shipbuilding works, Jarrow-on-Tyne.
At the age of 23 he entered into partnership with Mr. Robinson Thwaites in the Vulcan Ironworks at Bradford, the firm undertaking the construction of steam-hammers and general machinery for iron and steel works.
Whilst exhibiting at the Paris Exhibition of 1867, he was greatly impressed with the Roots blower, with the result that, after investigation, he arranged to take up its manufacture upon an extensive scale, and, entering upon this business with characteristic zest and thoroughness, he was largely instrumental in securing its widespread adoption in this country.
In 1878 Sir Edward Carbutt retired from active participation in business affairs in order to devote himself to public work. His labours were directed more especially to the advancement of engineering science and industry, and by wise and earnest advocacy in Parliament, as well as by his work in connection with various institutions and on committees concerned with administrative and technical questions, he rendered services of the highest value not only to the profession but to the nation at large.
He was returned to Parliament for the Monmouth district in the Liberal interest in 1880, retaining his seat until 1886. Probably his most important work in Parliament was his appeal in favour of enlarging the ordnance producing facilities of this country, the reorganization of the Government workshops and the encouragement and utilization of private enterprise. His action led to the appointment of Lord Morley’s committee, which reported in favour of the measures advocated by Sir Edward. These were carried out, with the result that greater efficiency and economy were realized in the Government establishments, private undertakings expanded the scope of their activities, and a healthy spirit of emulation was created from which the industry and the community have reaped great and lasting benefit.
Sir Edward also did useful work in recommending the adoption of the Maxim gun by the Government, and in urging the extension of Indian railways. The need for considerable extensions of the State railways was clearly established by Lord George Hamilton’s committee, and from that time a more liberal policy was adopted by the Government in relation to the development of the railway system of India.
From 1881 to 1886 he greatly assisted in obtaining for the members of the Indian Public Works Department improved leave and pension rules, as well as the abolition of the invidious term 'uncovenanted,' which previously was attached to Civil Engineers employed in that branch of the service.
Sir Edward was a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and after serving some years on the council, he was elected to the office of President in 1887. He also represented that body on the committee of the National Physical Laboratory. As a vice-president of the Iron and Steel Institute, he was nominated to represent that body on the Committee on the Education and Training of Engineers.
He also served on the departmental committee which enquired into the organization and working of the Royal College of Science and the Royal School of Mines, and as a member of the Carnegie Research Scholarship committee.
Sir Edward took part in many international exhibitions and was a member of the Royal Commission for the Paris Exhibition of 1900.
The honour of a baronetcy was conferred upon him in 1892.
He served the office of Mayor of Leeds in 1878, was Justice of the Peace and Deputy-Lieutenant for Surrey, and High Sheriff of that county in 1896-1897. In 1874 he married Mary, only daughter of Mr. John Rhodes of Potternewton House, Leeds.
He was elected an Associate of this Institution on the1 st December, 1863, was subsequently placed in the class of Associate Members, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 17th April, 1888.
1905 Obituary 
. . . youngest son of the late Mr. Francis Carbutt, of Chapel Allerton, who was for nearly twenty-five years a director of the Midland Railway Company. It was in the Derby workshops of this company that Sir Edward, then quite a youth, obtained his first introduction to engineering matters. After being there for sometime, he was sent ro Jarrow-on-Tyne to serve with Charles Palmer and Co. When but little over twenty years of age - somewhere between the years 1861 and 1863 - he entered into partnership with Mr. Robinson Thwaites, and with him carried on an increasingly growing business at Vulcan Ironworks, Bradford, under the title of Thwaites and Carbutt. This firm, after his retirement, became Thwaites Brothers, and has kept the same title ever since . . . [much more]
1905 Obituary 
Sir EDWARD HAMER CARBUTT, Bart., died at his residence at Cranleigh, near Guildford, on Sunday, October 8, 1905. He was born on July 22, 1838, and was the descendant of an old Yorkshire family. He was apprenticed at the age of sixteen to the engineering profession in the locomotive department of the Midland Railway at Derby under Mr. Matthew Kirtley - the first locomotive superintendent of the railway.
In 1858 he went to Messrs. Palmer's works at Jarrow-on-Tyne, where he continued for nearly two years, after which he occupied a position in the locomotive department of the works at which he had previously served his apprenticeship. When twenty. four years of age he entered into partnership with Mr. Robinson Thwaites in the Vulcan Iron Works at Bradford, a firm engaged in the construction of steam-hammers and general machinery for iron and steel works. One of the more noticeable departures from ordinary practice introduced in the construction of hammers was the substitution of wrought-iron frames for the heavy castings previously used. The first hammer of the kind made by the firm, about 1863, was for Messrs. John Brown & Co.'s Sheffield works, while some of the heavier hammers built were for the manufacture of guns in Britain and foreign countries.
In 1867, when on a visit to the Paris Exhibition, he was greatly impressed with the design and efficiency of the Roots blower, and he subsequently entered upon its manufacture, and was largely instrumental in bringing about its extensive application in this country. His first paper before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers dealt with this subject, and was entitled " Roots' Mine Ventilator and other Applications of Roots' Blowers." The firm with which he was connected continued to prosper, and he found leisure to devote himself more particularly to public life, eventually retiring from business in 1877. In that year he became a member of the Corporation of his native town, Leeds, and in 1878 he became Mayor.
He had, in 1874, married the only daughter of John Rhodes, J.P., stockbroker, of Potternewton, Leeds, who admirably assisted him in many of his beneficial schemes. In 1879 he entered Parliament as member for the Monmouth boroughs. In this capacity he afforded a striking instance of the utility of an engineering and mechanical training in bringing to bear upon legislative questions involving technical issues, the results of practical and first-hand experience. He identified himself with the agitation in favour of adding to the ordnance-producing facilities of this country. The Government had been willing at an earlier period to utilise to a certain extent the services of various firms, but had evinced a disposition to regard the Government arsenal as practically the main establishment for the production of heavy ordnance. Sir Edward's action in the House of Commons resulted, however, in Lord Morley's committee being appointed, and not only a reorganisation of the Woolwich works followed, but a considerable development of the facilities in existing private ordnance works resulted. He further succeeded at about this time in securing from the Government of the day the appointment of a civilian Director - General of Ordnance Factories - the late Sir William Anderson - with the result that greater efficiency and economy have been realised. In other ordnance work, such as securing the adoption of the Maxim gun, he did useful service. He next turned his attention to the question of the Indian railways, and it was largely through his action that the Government were induced to appoint a Committee, under the presidency of Lord George Hamilton, by which the necessity of considerable extensions to the State Railways was clearly established. He also championed, at various times, the Public Works Department of India, and laboured to improve the emoluments of officials of the department, and also to ensure a fuller recognition of their services in the distribution of imperial honours, a championship which will long be remembered by those who benefited by it. The defeat, in 1886, of the Government on the question of Home Rule cost him his seat, and from that time he devoted himself more particularly to the advancement of the various institutions with which he had become connected. He was president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1887, and was subsequently elected representative of that society on the General Board of the National Physical Laboratory. He was also a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and served as chairman of the engineering section of the London Chamber of Commerce. He was created a baronet in 1892. He was also a magistrate and deputy-lieutenant for Surrey, for which county he filled the office of High Sheriff in 1896. He was one of the original members of the Iron and Steel Institute, having been elected at its foundation in 1869. He was elected a member of council in 1897 and a vice-president in 1905. In the proceedings of the Institute he always took a deep int6rest, and was a most regular attendant at the council and committee meetings. As recently as on the occasion of the Sheffield meeting he had, although far from well, journeyed to that city to attend the meeting. He was a member of the Carnegie Research Scholarship Committee, and representative of the Institute on the committee organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers to formulate a scheme of education for engineers, and in many other ways showed how deeply he had the interests of the Institute at heart. In view of the forthcoming meeting in London in July he had been appointed one of the executive committee to initiate arrangements. Sir Edward Carbutt was buried at Leeds on October 13, 1905, the funeral being attended by representatives of the engineering industries and of the Iron and Steel Institute.