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British Industrial History

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James Baird Handyside

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James Baird Handyside (1835-1882)

of the Crown Ironworks, Glasgow

1876 Details of railway wheels [1]

1877 Patents with Louis Sterne, both of the Crown Iron Works, Glasgow, Lanark, North Britain, Engineers, for the invention of "improvements in wheels and machine tools for grinding or finishing metallic surfaces," and another for the invention of "improvements in closing springs for doors or gates.[2]


1883 Obituary [3]

JAMES BAIRD HANDYSIDE was born in Glasgow on 4th October 1835, being the third son of the late Nicol Handyside, one of the original founders of the "Anchor" line of steam packets, by a daughter of the late John Baird of Shotts Iron Works.

He served his time for six years with Messrs. Smith and Roger of Glasgow and Govan (now the London and Glasgow Engineering and Iron Ship Building Co.).

After a voyage to Calcutta in a troop-ship as engineer, he went to Russia to represent the firm of W. R. and J. Handyside, contracting engineers. His stay in that country extended over eleven years, during the latter portion of which he was managing director of the Ogeroff Iron Works of John Dye and Co., employing over 2,000 hands. These works were subsequently acquired by the Russian Government, under whom he continued to act as manager.

He also spent a short time in Siberia in the inspection of mines.

On his return to Scotland in 1867, he was appointed Russian Consul in Glasgow, in succession to his father, who had held the office for upwards of forty years; and he continued to act in that capacity till 1873.

Very shortly after leaving Russia he became connected with Mr. W. S. Thomson in the manufacture of railway springs and buffers; and this business, carried on afterwards under the firm of Thomson Sterne and Co., Limited, formed the nucleus of the various industries now prosecuted by them at the Crown Iron Works, Glasgow, including, in addition to the spiral-spring business, the manufacture of emery wheels, emery-grinding machinery, feed-water heaters and filters, and gas engines. Of this company Mr. Handyside was the managing director in Glasgow. In addition to the many excellent and useful emery machine-tools designed by him, may be mentioned his safety elastic disc-wheel for railway carriages and wagons.

Both during his stay in Russia and after his return to this country, his singular faculty for organisation was, well known and recognised, as were also the indefatigable exertions, often overtaxing his energies, put forth by bins in the interests of the firm with which lie was connected.

He died at Glasgow, after a short illness, on 11th March 1882, at the age of forty-six.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1879.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer of 3rd November 1876 p309
  2. London Gazette 1877
  3. 1883 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries