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British Industrial History

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Enoch James

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Enoch James (1848-1908)

1909 Obituary [1]

ENOCH JAMES was born at Rhymney, Mon., on 24th April 1848.

He was trained in the engineering shops of the Rhymney Iron Co., and was made assistant furnace-manager there in 1878.

Four years later the Ebbw Vale Co. appointed hills manager of their Victoria Blast-Furnaces, and while there he largely extended the plant.

In 1884 he left for Cumberland to take charge of the Ironworks of The Solway Hematite Co., and two years later returned to Rhymney, having been appointed manager of both the furnace and the steelworks departments there.

Five years later he moved on to Blaenavon to take up the deputy-general-managership of the Blaenavon Works.

Very soon afterwards (in 1890) he was offered the managership of the new Cardiff Works of the Dowlais Iron Co. During the time he held this latter appointment he supervised the laying down of the works, consisting of four modern blast-furnaces, six large open-hearth melting furnaces, and a largo plate rolling-mill complete with hot-banks, etc., starting up each branch successfully. He remained in charge at Cardiff for seven years.

In 1807 he was appointed general manager of the Patent Shaft and Axle-Tree Co. of Wednesbury, Staffs. Under his management the company established a record for bridge building. It was during the time of the South African War when the Colenso and Frere bridges were destroyed, and the Natal Government wished them replaced at the earliest possible moment, that this company were able to manufacture, deliver, and erect these bridges in record time against the strong competition of both English and American builders.

In 1901 he was appointed a commissioner to investigate matters connected with the competition in America in the iron and steel trades, and he furnished a report of great value dealing particularly with the "Steel Works and Mills" department.

During the latter five or six years of his life he was established at Cardiff and practised as a consulting engineer. During this time he visited New South Wales to report upon the best location for a blast-furnace plant to use the materials found in the locality. He also was identified with the improved operation of blast-furnaces belonging to more than one company at home.

He was of an inventive turn of mind and ingeniously devised many details and arrangements to assist in reducing cost or increasing output. His best known invention is the pig-breaker, which, in conjunction with Mr. Edward P. Martin, Past-President, he brought out about fifteen years ago.

He had the gift of infusing both officials and workmen with his own enthusiasm and of attaching them to himself. He was a Justice of the Peace for the City of Cardiff. During the visit of the Institution to Cardiff in 1906 he acted upon the Executive Committee, and was of great service in helping to make enjoyable the visit of the Institution on that occasion.

His death took place at his residence in Cardiff on 14th November 1908, at the age of sixty.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1895.

1908 Obituary [2]

. . . in 1876 was appointed assistant manager of the blast furnace and Bessemer department. Here he did good work, and in 1880 was selected as manager of the Victoria blast furnace under the Ebbw Vale Co. In 1884 he was chosen manager of the Solway Hematite Co, Cumberland, and in 1889 was appointed deputy general manager at Blaenavon. His excellent work in the district came specially under the notice of Mr. E. V. Martin, of Dowlais, who had previously been in charge at Blaenavon, and through that gentleman he was appointed to the management of the Cardiff branch of the Dowlais Steel Works. Here he assisted in designing and superintending the erection of several blast furnaces and the laying out and erecting of a Siemens melting furnace and a large plate rolling mill. He continued several years as manager, but in 1897 entered the service of the Patent Shaft and Axletree Co, and after carrying out some able bridge work for South Africa during the Boer war, restricted himself from 1902 to various engagements as a consulting engineer in this country and in the Colonies. His inventive capacity was marked, but friends say that he was specially able in the government of men. . . [more]

1908 Obituary [3]

ENOCH JAMES died at his residence in Cardiff on November 14, 1908, in his sixty-first year. Born at Rhymney, he received his early training in the engineering department of the Rhymney Iron Co., and in 1876 was promoted to be assistant manager of the blast-furnaces and Bessemer steelworks.

In 1880 he was appointed manager of the Victoria Blast-furnaces under the Ebbw Vale Co. He afterwards went as manager of the Solway Haematite Co., Cumberland, in 1884, and in 1889 he was appointed deputy general manager of the Blaenavon Co., with control of all the works. After serving a short time in this position, he was offered the management of the Dowlais Co.'s new works at Cardiff.

In 1890 he entered the service of the Dowlais Co., and as manager of the works at Cardiff, he assisted in designing and superintending the completion of several blast-furnaces and the laying out and erection of a Siemens melting furnace and a large plate-rolling mill. This position he resigned some years ago to assume the management of the Patent Shaft Works at Wednesbury, but owing to ill health he found it necessary to resign his appointment. He thereupon returned to Cardiff, where he had since lived in retirement.

Mr. James was a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and of the South Wales Institute of Engineers, and was a Fellow of the Imperial Institute. In 1901 he was appointed by the British Iron Trade Association one of the Commissioners to inquire into the Iron, Steel, and Allied Industries of the United States. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1889, and was a very regular attendant at its meetings.

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