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George Robert Dunnell

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George Robert Dunnell (1847-1907) of R. G. Dunnell and Co


1907 Obituary [1]

An able engineer and an accomplished writer on engineering matters has died . . . eldest son of the late Robert George Dunnell, of the firm of R. G. Dunnell and Co, chemical manufacturers, of Redcliff. . . he acted as engineer to the Castle Steel Works, Milford Haven . . . for some considerable time engineering correspondent of The Times . . . [more]


1907 Obituary [2]

GEORGE ROBERT DUNELL was born in London on 23rd July 1847, and was the eldest son of Mr. B. G. Dunell, who had a large business as a chemical manufacturer in London.

He received a liberal education, and when he left school he was uncertain for a time whether he should adopt a profession or follow in his father's business. The latter choice he accepted, and entered a large chemical works in Manchester, and from there he finally went to his father's works, devoting himself more particularly to the engineering aspect of it. Here he served his apprenticeship, but, owing to the death of his father, he was then unfortunately not old enough to take charge of the highly technical business, and it had to be disposed of.

He then travelled, both on the Continent and in America, and for a time was the London representative of a firm of chemical manufacturers. But his natural bent was towards engineering, and he entered the office of Mr. James Pollock in 1878 with the view to completing his training. Mr. Pollock's connection lay mostly with marine engineering, a subject which appealed to Mr. Dunell, who was an enthusiastic yachtsman.

When Messrs. Herreshoff brought out their water-tube boiler, he became their representative in this country, and spent some time is their American works studying the manufacture of the boiler and of the special engines and vessels made by that firm. Torpedo-boats were acquired by the British and Russian Governments, and he went to St. Petersburg in 1881 to instruct the naval engineers in the art of running torpedo-boats. Subsequently the boiler fell out of favour, and its use was abandoned.

On his return to this country he became engineer to the Castle Steel and Iron Works, of Milford Haven, designing for them the boilers and engines for steamers of small size. This connection lasted until the works were closed in 1884.

He really found his vocation when he became a journalist. He had a fluent style, with great facility of expression and an abundance of ideas. His early journalistic essays appeared in "The Field," to which he contributed articles on yachting and on steam-engineering for yachtsmen.

It was in 1883 that he first began to write in "Engineering." Soon after he commenced to report the meetings of technical societies for that journal, and for some twenty-four years continued to do so, in addition to the production of much important unsigned work.

For a long time he was an engineering contributor to "The Times," and in the autumn of 1899 he went to America for that journal to write a long series of articles on the United States iron and steel industries. This was only one of several visits he paid to the United States, where he had many friends.

He was also a contributor for many years to "Brassey's Annual," writing a chapter for each volume.

On the resignation of Mr. (now Sir) George V. Holmes of the secretaryship of the Institution of Naval Architects, Mr. Dunell undertook the duties temporarily while a successor was being appointed, and continued to be associated with the secretariat in a consultative capacity until his death.

During his life he had enjoyed excellent health until a few weeks before his death, when he began to suffer from a local trouble, which gave him considerable pain. He was advised to undergo an operation, which was successful, and it was expected that a satisfactory recovery would be made. Complications, however, arose; and his death took place in London on 12th May 1907, in his sixtieth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1894; he was also a Member of the Iron and Steel institute.


1907 Obituary [3]



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