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George Dyson

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George Walter Dyson (1817-1891)

1860 George Dyson, Tudhoe Iron Works, near Ferryhill.[1] - presumably Weardale Iron and Coal Co


1891 Obituary [2]

GEORGE DYSON was born in London on the 11th of November, 1817. After being trained as a Civil Engineer he was appointed, when quite a young man, manager of the Park Gate Ironworks, near Rotherham.

About the year 1848 he undertook the management of the Weardale Iron Co’s blast furnaces and mines at Tow Law under the late Charles Attwood, the founder of the Company. Owing to Mr. Attwood's delicate health it was uncertain whether the Company would be able to overcome the many difficulties then standing in its way, but with the advent of Mr. Dyson things soon began to assume a better complexion.

One of the first difficulties in smelting Weardale iron was to avoid making 'glazed pig-iron,' known in the market at that date as silicon pig-iron. This quality was then of very little value commercially, as it would not make malleable iron and was practically of no use for foundry purposes. Mr. Dyson, however, offered some thousands of tons of silicon iron at a cheap rate to Ransome and May of Ipswich, who in 1850 had secured a large contract for chairs for the Great Northern Railway. This firm, finding that the strength of silicon pig-iron was greatly increased by re-melting, accepted the offer.

Mr. Dyson then advised Mr. Attwood to enter into a contract with Messrs. Ransome and May, but that the iron, instead of being conveyed to Ipswich, should be made into chairs at Tow Law, the latter firm to have the use of the foundry and to carry out the manufacture with their own staff and tools. This suggestion was carried out, and resulted in a great saving in carriage to both parties.

The difficulties of blast furnace smelting having been overcome, Mr. Dyson's next work was to show that Weardale iron could be made into merchant bars, to compete with other brands. On his advice a Malleable Ironworks at Dunfermline in Scotland was bought on very favourable terms. The works were carried on under his supervision, and, having satisfied himself and Mr. Attwood that a high-class iron could be made from Weardale material, he advised that they should be removed to Tudhoe, near Spennymoor, which was situated on a coal royalty belonging to the Company and had excellent railway accommodation. Here he built in 1852 from his own designs extensive rolling-mills and foundries, and took entire charge of the Company’s Works and Collieries.

Mr. Dyson’s next battle was caused by his firm taking up in 1855 the manufacture of Bessemer steel, as to which process very little was known at that time. A plant sufficient to make two tons at a time was put down, and many a heartache did this matter cause him and others associated with him. These experiments proving costly and unsuccessful, the Bessemer department was closed shortly afterwards.

In December, 1866, Mr. Dyson left the Weardale Iron Company, and commenced business on his own account as an iron merchant at Middlesbrough. This he carried on until within a week of his death, which took place at Hurworth-on-Tees on the 10th of May, 1891.

Mr. Dyson led an active, busy and useful life. In addition to his other duties he acted as chairman and managing director of the Bearpark Coal and Coke Co, Limited, and took great interest in the salt and chemical industries of the Middlesbrough district. His services were often called into requisition as an arbitrator in matters connected with the iron, steel and coal trades. He was shrewd, painstaking, and exact ; very determined, although open to conviction, and above all distinguished as an honourable man of business. He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 3rd of February, 1857.


1891 Obituary [3]

GEORGE DYSON was born in London on the 11th of November 1817. After being trained as a civil engineer, he was appointed to the post of manager of the Park Gate Ironworks, near Rotherham.

About the year 1848 he undertook the management of the Weardale Iron Company's blast furnaces and mines at Tow Law, under the late Mr. Charles Attwood, the founder of the company. Owing to Mr. Attwood's delicate health, it was uncertain whether the company would be able to overcome the many difficulties then standing in its way, but with the advent of Mr. Dyson things soon began to assume a better complexion. One of the first difficulties in smelting Weardale iron was to avoid making "glazed pig iron," known in the market at that date as silicon pig iron. This quality was then of very little value commercially, as it would not make malleable iron, and was practically of no use for foundry purposes. Mr. Dyson, however, offered some thousands of tons of silicon iron at a cheap rate to Messrs. Ransome & May of Ipswich, who in 1850 had secured a large contract for chairs for the Great Northern Railway. This firm, finding that the strength of silicon pig iron was greatly increased by re-melting, accepted the offer. Mr. Dyson then advised Mr. Attwood to enter into a contract with Messrs. Ransome & May, but that the iron, instead of being conveyed to Ipswich, should be made into chairs at Tow Law, the latter firm to have use of the foundry, and to carry out the manufacture with their own stuff and tools. This suggestion was carried out, and resulted in a great saving in carriage to both parties.

The difficulties of blast furnace smelting having been overcome, Mr. Dyson's next work was to show that Weardale iron could be made into merchant bars to compete with other brands. On his advice, a malleable ironwork at Dunfermline, in Scotland, was bought on very favourable terms. The works were carried on under his supervision, and having satisfied himself and Mr. Attwood that a high-class iron could be made from Weardale material, he advised that they should be removed to Tudhoe, near Spennymoor, which was situated on a coal royalty belonging to the company, and had excellent railway accommodation. Here he built in 1852, from Isis own designs, extensive rolling-mills and foundries, and took entire charge of the company's works and collieries.

Mr. Dyson's next battle was caused by his firm taking up, in 1855, the manufacture of Bessemer steel, as to which process very little was known at that time. A plant sufficient to make two tons at a time was put down, and many a headache did this matter cause him and others associated with him. These experiments proving costly and unsuccessful, the Bessemer department was closed shortly afterwards. In December 1866 Mr. Dyson left the Weardale Iron Company, and commenced business on his own account as an iron merchant at Middlesbrough. This he carried on until within a week of his death, which took place at Hurworth-on-Tees on the 10th of May 1891.

In addition to his other duties, Mr. Dyson acted as chairman and managing director of the Bearpark Coal and Coke Company (Limited), and took great interest in the salt and chemical industries of the Middlesbrough district. His services were often called into requisition as an arbitrator in matters connected with the iron, steel, and coal trades.

He became a member of the Institute in 1875, and frequently attended its subsequent meetings.


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