Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,518 pages of information and 233,949 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

George Mills

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

George Mills (1796-1859)

1847 Chief Engineer of the West India Royal Mail Steam Packet Co

1860 Obituary [1]

MR. GEORGE MILLS was born in 1796, in London, where he served his apprenticeship to an ironmonger, smith, and stovemaker, with whom he afterwards remained some time as a workman.

About the year 1821, he became foreman at a similar establishment; and, in 1827, he undertook the management of a business in Bond Street. He had always a great desire to learn engineering, and between the last two periods, he attended evening classes, in order to acquire a knowledge of mensuration and of mechanical drawing.

After a diligent study of many of the engineering works then in progress, he, in 1830, commenced business on his own account, in Warwick Street, as a Mechanical Engineer. Shortly afterwards, he was introduced to Mr. Trevithick, the well-known Engineer, with whom, eventually, he entered into a partnership, which was, however, soon dissolved, in consequence of over speculation, and of Mr. Trevithick not obtaining from abroad, the remittances which he had expected.

He next became the partner of Mr. Dyett, with whom he established an iron foundry at Birmingham, commencing by the construction of engines for the 'Shakspeare,' a vessel which was afterwards sent out to Rio de Janeiro. At this period, Messrs. Mills and Dyett were allowed, for some time, the use of a Government vessel, the 'Falcon,' in which to try their engines.

The business not proving successful, the partnership was dissolved, and, in 1839, Mr. Mills returned to London, where he soon afterwards obtained the appointments of Superintendent Engineer of the Herne Bay Steam Packet Company, and of the Thames Steam Towing Company.

In 1842, he was appointed Superintendent Engineer of the West India Royal Mail Packet Company, and he removed to Southampton, where he formed an establishment for the repair of the company's fleet. During his connection with this company he displayed considerable energy and ability, and untiring zeal and perseverance in carrying out the service, particularly in the punctual performance of the mail contracts, under the many disasters which happened to the company, by the loss of so many of their ships. He took great interest in the welfare of marine engineers, and endeavoured, in every way, to advance the interests of those serving afloat.

He strongly advocated the introduction of superheated steam; and after the trials of Mr. Wethered's combined steam in the 'Black Eagle' and the 'Dee,' he associated himself with that gentleman, and caused his system to be applied to the company’s steamer 'Avon.' That he did so successfully, is proved by the fact, that no better results, as to economy, have been arrived at, from the subsequent use of superheated steam alone, or of combined steam, than those shown by the performances of the 'Avon.’

He remained in the service of the company until June, 1857, when he resigned upon a superannuation allowance of £500 per annum, which he did not live long to enjoy. His health had been for some time declining, and he died at Southampton, after a painful illness, on the 17th of January, 1859, in the sixty-third year of his age.

After his retirement, he became Chairman of the Risca Iron and Coal Company, in which undertaking he unfortunately invested nearly the whole of his property; and the ample means which, he imagined, he had left to his widow, were almost entirely sacrificed by the failure of the company, one year after his death. He was intimately acquainted with most of the manufacturing engineers and shipbuilders of England, by whom he was greatly esteemed for his strict integrity and his urbanity of manner.

He joined the Institution as an Associate, in 1843.

See Also


Sources of Information