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Francis James Platt

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Francis James Platt (1869-1924) of Fielding and Platt

son of James Platt

1925 Obituary [1]

FRANCIS JAMES PLATT was the second son of the late Mr. James Platt, of the firm of Messrs. Fielding and Platt, Atlas Iron Works, Gloucester.

He was born on 25th February 1869, and was educated at Cheltenham College and at Owens College, Manchester.

He served his time, from 1887 to 1891, with Messrs. Fielding and Platt, and subsequently became assistant manager and eventually a director of that firm, being particularly associated with their hydraulic work, in connexion with which for some years he travelled over the greater part of Europe.

In 1903 he joined the Dudbridge Iron Works, Ltd., in the position of managing director, and then devoted his attention particularly to the development of internal- combustion engines, paying several visits to Baku and South Russia to study the adaptation of those engines for natural gas, and subsequently manufactured a large number of engines for this purpose.

In or about 1912 he secured the English rights for manufacture of the Salmson aeroplane engine for his firm, and made three engines for trial at Farnborough, he being the first to make in England an aeroplane engine of 200 h.p.

During the War his firm was very actively engaged on war work, principally for the Air Force and the Admiralty.

A serious breakdown in health, however, occurred in 1919 as a result of war strain, and he transferred to others his share in the business. He was ill for two years, and although he subsequently carried on work in London as a consulting engineer, he never wholly recovered from the effects of his breakdown, and his death occurred on 1st December 1924, at West Hampstead, in his fifty-sixth year.

For a number of years he took an active part in the work of the Engineering and Allied Employers' National Association.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1899.

1924 Obituary[2]


An engineer who contributed largely to -the modern development of internal-combustion engines, not only for power supply in works, but also for aeroplane propulsion, Mr. Francis James Platt, died, at ’his residence, 20, Woodchurch-road, West Hampstead, on December 1. He was born in 1869 and was the son of the late Mr. James Platt, M.Inst-.C.E., of Gloucester.

After leaving Cheltenham College, at the age of 17 years, Mr. Platt entered the works of Messrs. Fielding and Platt, Limited, Gloucester, and after the study of the practice of engineering in many of the shops, he became a student at Owen’s College, Manchester. On the completion of his studies, he returned to the works and superintended the erection of many large plants. He then entered the design side of the organisation, was made assistant manager in 1894, and chief draughtsman in 1897. During this period he superintended the construction of a large hydraulic shipyard gantry for Messrs. Harland and Wolff, Limited, of Belfast. In 1898 Mr. Platt became a partner in the firm.

On the death of Mr. J. Humpidge, of the Dudbridge Iron Works, Limited, near Stroud, through the bursting of a flywheel in 1903, Mr. Platt replaced hiin as managing director. Under the new control the company made many interesting developments, and were among the pioneers in the construction of aeroplane engines. The report of the Naval and Military Aeroplane Engine Competition, 1914, shows that'the firm was awarded three prizes of 1OOZ. for engines of the Salmson radial type which they built. One of these engines, a 200-h.p. set, seems to have been the first of so large a power constructed in this country. The active career of Mr. Platt came to a sudden close at the commencement of the moulders’ strike in 1919. On the day of the commencement of the strike he was delivering an address to the workmen when he collapsed through-a seizure. Soon after this the business at Stroud was sold, and when Mr. Platt had sufficiently recovered to resume work, he opened an office in Westminster and practised as a consultant-. He was a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a past president of the Gloucester Engineering Society."

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