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British Industrial History

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Francis Edward Dyke Acland

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Francis Edward Dyke Acland (1857–1943), civil engineer

Born in Oxford

1891 Retired Captain Royal Artillery, staying at Woodley Tower, Exeter Rd, Holdenhurst, Hants, with Marian S Acland 27, Herbert A Acland 4, Charis A Acland 2, Clemence M Acland 1, Kenneth F Acland 6 mo; also staying at this place were Sir Henry Acland, professor of medicine, age 75, widower[1]

1892 Joined I Mech E

1905/6 Patents with Bernhard Greiff, both engineers of Cheapside, London, concerning suspended electric railways and various items for use with same.

1919 Made a presentation at the Royal Society of Arts on the new prime mover invented by William Joseph Still[2]


1944 Obituary [3]

Captain FRANCIS EDWARD DYKE ACLAND, R.A., ret., whose death occurred on 14th March 1943, in his eighty-sixth year, was one of the pioneers of modern gunnery and for many years was a prominent consulting engineer. He was educated at Harrow and entered the Royal Academy, Woolwich, in 1874. Three years later he was gazetted to the Royal Horse Artillery and served in the South African war of 1880-1881, subsequently taking part in operations in Zululand. He gained considerable military engineering experience in these two campaigns.

On his return to England in 1885 he was promoted captain and appointed gunnery experimental officer at Shoeburyness, where he was responsible for trials of armour plate, guns, projectiles, and new forms of high explosives. He retired from the Royal Artillery in 1888 and became technical adviser to the Nordenfelt Gun Company; later, on the formation of the Maxim-Nordenfelt Company he was made manager in charge of all experimental work on explosives, the construction of ranges, and the electrical equipment of the company's works at Erith. In 1891 he was appointed managing director.

During his association with the company he was actively concerned with the development of breech-loading guns and the introduction of smokeless powder. In 1893 he relinquished his appointment and went into practice as a consulting engineer, continuing in that capacity until his retirement in 1920. During this period he was instrumental in introducing into this country a Swiss type of tape loom and the Harmet process for the fluid compression of steel ingots. Other developments in which he was interested, included the "Synchronome" electric clock and the application of the Still engine to ship propulsion and locomotives. In addition he was consulting engineer to the Bethlehem Iron Company, of Pennsylvania, and also acted as adviser on war material to the Government of Siam.

Captain Dyke Acland was a Member of the Institution for over fifty years, having been elected in 1892; he was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1891 census
  2. The Times, May 27, 1919
  3. 1944 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries