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British Industrial History

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Francis James Odling

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Francis James Odling (1845-1906)

1881 Living at Chaddesden Cottage, Nottingham Road, Derby: Charles Western (age 35 born St. Pancras), Engineer employing 60 men and boys. Also in the same house is Francis J. Odling (age 35 born Marylebone), Engineer and Unmarried. Also a boarder, a visitor and a servant.[1]


1907 Obituary [2]

FRANCIS JAMES ODLING, eldest son of the late Mr. Francis Odling, surgeon, of London, was born on the 12th November, 1845, and received his education at Highgate Grammar School and at King’s College, London.

His engineering training was obtained in the works of Messrs. Maudslay, Son and Field, and after spending some time in the timber trade, he resumed engineering work at Derby in 1879, as partner in the firm of Western and Company.

In 1884, owing to industrial depression, the firm’s works were closed, and in the following year Mr. Odling went out to Australia. Settling in Melbourne, he interested himself in mining and metallurgical matters, especially in the economical extraction of metals from their ores.

In 1888 he became manager of the Pinnacles Mine at Broken Hill, and whilst there he devised a simple form of electromagnetic machine for the separation of metals from their ores, in which branch of research he became a pioneer in Australia. He followed this up with other and improved forms of separators, using both the dry and wet processes, and also perfected a new type of vanner.

After his return to Melbourne, a company was formed for the commercial exploitation of these and other inventions patented by Mr. Odling.

His later years were devoted almost entirely to scientific research, in which he displayed keen inventive ability and unusual fertility of resource. At the time of his death, he was engaged on a type of magnetic separator to be operated by polyphase current in substitution for a mechanical drive.

He died suddenly at St. Kilda, Melbourne, on the 10th September, 1906, aged 60.

Mr. Odling was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 4th March, 1873, and was subsequently placed in the class of Associate Members.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1881 Census
  2. 1907 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries