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Edward Pritchard Martin

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Edward Pritchard Martin (1844-1910).
1899.

Edward Pritchard Martin (1844-1910)

1844 January 20th. Born in Dowlais. His father George Martin, was mining engineer to the Dowlais Iron Co. for 58 years.

He was privately educated in England, then studied in Paris. At the age of 16 he was apprenticed under W. Menelaus, who had worked with Sir Henry Bessemer in his early experiments.

In 1864, he was transferred to the London office of the Dowlais Iron Co. Five years later he was appointed deputy general manager of the Dowlais Works under Menelaus. At the end of 1870 he became manager of the Cwmavon Works, owned by the Governor and Company of Copper-Miners in England. Later he was transferred to the Blaenavon Ironworks.

Whilst at the Blaenavon Iron Works, he became associated with the Thomas-Gilchrist attempts to make a satisfactory metal from phosphoric ores. He was the first to give facilities for making trials on a commercial basis. For this he was awarded the Bessemer Gold Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1884, in conjunction with Edward Windsor Richards.

In 1882, after the death of Menelaus, Martin became General Manager of the Dowlais Ironworks, and continued in this position for twenty years. The erection of the new Dowlais-Cardiff Works on Cardiff Moors was commenced in 1888. Two blast-furnaces were blown in February 1891, and the steel works and plate mills started work in 1895. He introduced labour-saving machinery whenever possible, incorporating many ideas gained from visits to America.

He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1905, and re-elected in 1906.

He was also an Original Member of the Iron and Steel Institute, and was President in 1897-1898.

He was President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers, and the Monmouth and South Wales Colliery-Owners’ Association.

He also held the chairmanship of the South Wales Iron and Steel Workers’ Sliding-Scale Board, an institution which was credited with keeping the district free from labour disputes.

He died at Harrogate on 25th September 1910.


1910 Obituary [1]

EDWARD PRITCHARD MARTIN was born at Dowlais on 20th January 1844, being the son of George Martin, who was for fifty-eight years mining engineer to the Dowlais Iron Co.

He was privately educated in England, this being followed up by study in Paris, after which, at the age of sixteen, he was apprenticed under the late W. Menelaus, who was closely identified with Sir Henry Bessemer in his early experiments, and with Thomas and Gilchrist in their efforts to produce a satisfactory metal from phosphoric ores.

In 1864 he was transferred to assist Mr. E. Williams in the management of the London office of the Dowlais Iron Co.

Five years later he was appointed deputy general-manager of the Dowlais Works under Mr. Menelaus, and at the end of 1870 he was induced to take up the management of the Cwmavon Works, then in the hands of the Governor and Company of Copper-Miners in England.

In the course of these appointments he was responsible for the erection of rolling-mill engines, blast-furnaces, railways, and for several important alterations at Port Talbot Harbour.

In 1874 he was transferred to the Blaenavon Iron Works, where his administration again proved highly successful. While in this position he became associated with the development of the Thomas-Gilchrist process of dephosphorization, and was the first to give facilities for making trials of it on a commercial basis. For this he was awarded, in 1884, the Bessemer Gold Medal of the Iron and Steel Institute, in conjunction with Mr. E. Windsor Richards, who, after becoming interested by Mr. Martin in this process, became one of its most active promoters.

On the death of Mr. Menelaus, in 1882, Mr. Martin became General Manager of the Dowlais Iron Works, and continued in that office until 1902. A few years after his appointment it was decided to enlarge the works of the company, and the local ore having largely given place to foreign ore, at his suggestion it was resolved to erect the new works at a place where supplies could be more easily handled. The erection of the new Dowlais-Cardiff Works on Cardiff Moors was therefore commenced in 1888, and two blast-furnaces were blown in February 1891, the steel works and plate mills commencing operations in 1895. To obtain satisfactory results, he introduced labour-saving machinery wherever possible, his knowledge of American progress, gleaned on visits to the United States, considerably aiding him in this work.

The Dowlais Works were originally in the bounds of Lord Wimborne and Mr. Martin. But soon after the opening of the new Works, Lord Wimborne sold them with their associated mines to Messrs. Guest, Keen and Co., Mr. Martin being appointed Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of the firm of Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds.

He was also a Director of the Orconera. Iron Co. — the Dowlais Iron Co.'s mines in Spain — of the Rhymney Railway Co., and of the South Wales Electrical Power Distribution Co.

He was a Justice of the Peace for the counties of Glamorgan and Monmouth, and also held at one time the office of High Constable for Caerphilly-Higher.

In 1884 he assumed the High-Constableship of Merthyr, and in 1903 was appointed High Sheriff of Monmouthshire. He became a Member of this Institution in 1881, was a Member of Council from 1886 to 1893, when he was elected a Vice-President. This office he held until 1905 when he was elected President, being re-elected in 1906.

His Presidential Address related largely to mechanical and other improvements introduced in the iron and steel industries, both here and in America, and gave an historical review of then. He was one of the original Members of the Iron and Steel Institute on its foundation in 1869, and was on the Council from 1877, being President in 1897-8. After the visit of the Iron and Steel Institute to Sweden and Norway in the latter year, the King of Sweden created him Commander of the Second Class of the Royal Order of the Wasa.

He was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1881, and for some time also served on its Council. He had also been President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers, and of the Monmouth and South Wales Colliery-Owners' Association. He likewise held at one time the chairmanship of the South Wales Iron and Steel Workers' Sliding-Scale Board, whirls helped largely in giving the district a period of freedom from labour troubles.

Although he had not been enjoying good health for some little time, his death was unexpectedly sudden. It took place at Harrogate on 25th September 1910, in his sixty-seventh year.


1911 Obituary [2]

EDWARD PRITCHARD MARTIN died suddenly at Harrogate on the 25th September, 1910.

The eldest son of the late Mr. George Martin, he was born at Dowlais in 1844, and was educated privately in England and in France. At the age of 16 he was apprenticed under the late Mr. W. Menelaus at the Dowlais Ironworks, and having subsequently spent several years at the London Office of the company, he was appointed Deputy General Manager in 1869.

In the following year he became General Manager of the Cwmavon Works, and in 1874 he was given charge of the Blaenavon Ironworks, where he designed and erected a large Bessemer steel plant, and did much to bring the Thomas-Gilchrist process of dephosphorization into general use.

On the death of Mr. Menelaus in 1882, Mr. Martin succeeded to the general managership of the Dowlais Works, which were shortly afterwards rebuilt to his design and under his supervision. He retained this position for 21 years, when he retired from the management, retaining a seat on the directorate.

Mr. Martin was a Vice-chairman of Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds,Ltd., Manager of the Orconera Iron Company, and Director of the Rhymney Railway Company. He was a Past-President of the Iron and Steel Institute, and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and was a member of various committees and local professional bodies. He was High Sheriff of Monmouthshire in 1903, and a Magistrate for the counties of Monmouth and Glamorgan.

Mr. Martin was elected a Member of The Institution on the 5th April, 1881, and served on the Council between 1899 and 1902.


1910 Obituary [3]

EDWARD PRITCHARD MARTIN, Past-President, died suddenly at the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate, on September 25, 1910. The news of his death came as a great shock to the members of the Institute, who at the time were just assembling at Buxton for the Autumn Meeting, at which it had been hoped that Mr. Martin would have been present in accordance with his usual custom. Mr. Martin came of a family which had for generations been connected with mining, originally in Cumberland, but later in South Wales.

He was born in 1844 in Dowlais, being the eldest son of George Martin, who was for fifty-eight. years mining engineer to the Dowlais Iron Company. Mr. Martin was privately educated in England, afterwards completing his studies at Paris, and at the age of sixteen he was apprenticed under Mr. W. Menelaus and Mr. E. Williams as engineer at the Dowlais Iron Works. In 1864 he came to London to assist in the management of the London office of the company. His next move of importance was in 1869, when he was appointed deputy general manager of the Dowlais Works, and at the end of the following year he became general manager of the Cwmavon Works of the Governor and Company of Copper Miners in England.

In 1874 Mr. Martin was appointed general manager of the Blaenavon Iron Works, for which he designed a large Bessemer steel plant, also superintending its erection and subsequent working. At Blaenavon he was the first to give facilities for making trials on a commercial scale of the Thomas-Gilchrist process of dephosphorisation, and being convinced of its soundness he did much to bring it into general use. For his part in this contribution to the advancement of metallurgy the Bessemer Gold Medal was in 1884 awarded to him in conjunction with Mr. E. Windsor Richards, who, having been interested by Mr. Martin in the process, also became one of its most active promoters. This assistance was publicly acknowledged in 1883 by Mr. Thomas, who remarked, on the occasion when he himself was the recipient of the Bessemer Gold Medal, that "the present position of dephosphorisation had only been rendered possible by the frank, generous, and unreserved co-operation of Mr. Windsor Richards, and of our earlier and consistent supporter, Mr. Martin." In this connection, also, Sir William Roberts-Austen, in his Presidential Address to the Institute in 1899, stated that the whole metallurgical world was under a lasting debt of gratitude to Mr. Martin, it being due to his foresight that they owed the adoption in practice of one of the great processes which would render the nineteenth century memorable.

On the death of Mr. Menelaus in 1882 Mr. Martin succeeded to the general managership of the Dowlais Iron Works, and continued in that office until 1902. Soon after his appointment it was decided to enlarge the works of the Company, and the building of the new Dowlais Works on Cardiff Moors was therefore undertaken in 1887.

Mr. Martin was responsible for this choice of site and the design of the plant, and the soundness of his judgment is apparent from the fact that iron ore can be discharged at the docks, smelted into pig iron in the blast-furnaces' converted by the open-hearth process, and rolled into plates within forty-eight hours. Mr. Martin's foresight also put the old Dowlais Works into a position to obtain a large share of the steel sleeper business in the Colonies, the Dowlais Works being the first to be equipped with special plant for the production of such sleepers.

Mr. Martin was vice-chairman of the firm of Guest, Keen Is Nettlefolds, Ltd., having also been manager of the Orconera Iron Co., from whose mines the Dowlais Company obtained the supplies of Spanish ore. He was also director of the Rhymney Railway Co. He was one of the original members of the Iron and Steel Institute, and was elected Member of Council in 1877, Vice-President in 1887, becoming President in 1897. In his Presidential Address he dealt with the subject of the development of the iron and steel industries as exemplified by the changes introduced at Dowlais. It will be remembered that at about the year of Mr. Martin's presidency the British press was full of lamentations over the outstripping of Great Britain in the industrial race by the United States. Having considerable knowledge of conditions abroad, Mr. Martin referred at length to what was actually being done by the competitors of British iron makers, and stated that he would not for a moment countenance the alarm with which the public regarded the industrial position and prospects of his country.

Mr. Martin was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and was President of that Institution for the years 1905 and 1906. He was also a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and had for some years served on the Council of that body.

He had been President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers and of the Monmouth and South Wales Colliery Owners' Association. He likewise held, at one time, the Chairmanship of the South Wales Iron and Steel Workers' Sliding Scale Board, and many other offices connected with his profession. He was elected a member of the Board of Trade Committee which held an inquiry upon steel rails, and was also a member of the Engineering Standards Committee.

Mr. Martin was also honoured with several offices of a public character. He was a Justice of the Peace for the counties of Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, and Brecon, and at one time held the office of High Constable for Caerphilly-Higher. In 1884 he accepted the High Constableship of Merthyr, and in 1903 was appointed High Sheriff of Monmouthshire.

His death is greatly regretted, not only by the large circle of engineers with whom he was intimately acquainted, but also by many others to whom his genial figure has long been familiar during the years that he was connected with the leading Institutions and the engineering professions.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Institution of Mechanical Engineers