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British Industrial History

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James Bruce Donald

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James Bruce Donald (c1853-1940)

1853 Born in Kincardine[1]/Tulliallan[2]

1868-73 Apprentice in the engine works of Messrs Tennants of Leith and Messrs Blackwood and Gordon of Port Glasgow

1871 Apprentice Practical Engineer, lived in Leith with his mother Euphemia Donald 40, George G Donald 15, Jane C G Donald 11, Ellen Donald 9, Kate A E Donald 3[3]

1874-5: 1.5 years as shop draughtsman with J. and J. Thomson, Glasgow

1876: 1 year as draughtsman with J. McF. Gray of Board of Trade

1877-8 Superintended the erection of marine engine work at the Smithfield works on the Isle of Dogs (might this have been Jackson and Watkins)?

1878-80: 1.5 years superintending for Sheppard and Co Steamers of Bombay, at Glasgow and Bombay

1880 Joined I Mech E; of Cornac Iron Works, Bombay.

1880-3 Works Manager at Cornac Iron Works

1883-8 Managing partner of Donald Henesey and Cowper, Ripon Iron Works, Frero Road, Bombay; correspondence care of Messrs. Fleming Wilson and Co., 24, 25, 27 Rood Lane, Fenchurch Street, London, E.C. Afterwards Donald and Co, Bombay

1888-9 in charge of Engineering branch of John Fleming and Co, merchants, Bombay

1889-90 At Fairfield Engineering and Shipbuilding Company, Ltd., at Govan.

1890-91 Assistant works manager to Messrs. James Howden and Company, marine engineers, Glasgow.

1890 c/of J. Macfarlane Gray, St. Katharine Dock House, Tower Hill, London, E.

1891 James Donald 38, mechanical engineer, lived in Glasgow Govan with Jane Elizabeth Donald 32, Archie Liviston Donald 7, Ivan Miller Donald 6 Months[4]

1891-95 Superintending engineer to Messrs. James Fisher and Sons, shipowners, of Barrow-in-Furness.

1896-99 At Vickers, Sons and Maxim as draughtsman

1896 of Barrow-in-Furness

1897 Resigned from I Mech E

1899-1902 Works manager in London for the General Engine and Boiler Company in London.

1901 Jane Elizabeth Donald 43, married, lived in Barrow in Furness, with Archie Liviston Donald 17, apprentice mechanical engineer and Marjory Donald 8[5]

1903 On the Gold Coast for a year as chief engineer to the Abbontiakoon Gold Mines at Tarpua

1904-6 Technical adviser in the London office of Messrs. T. Wilson and Company, successors to Messrs. John Fleming and Co, of Bombay.

1906-14 consulting engineer, London.

1911 Mechanical engineer, consulting engineer, boarder in London[6]

WWI 1915 Lieut. Royal Marines, Technical Corps of Submarine Miners; later Captain.

1916 Ministry of Munitions, London - High Explosives Department.

1917-8 Second lieutenant RFC, engine repair section.

1918 Re-elected to I Mech E; consultant with Pulsometer Engineering Co

1918 Lived in Edinburgh.

1940 Died in London<ref<National probate calendar</ref>


1941 Obituary [7]

Captain JAMES BRUCE DONALD served his apprenticeship from 1868 to 1873 in the engine works of Messrs. Tennant and Company, Leith, and Messrs. Blackwood and Gordon,. Port Glasgow. After being employed as a draughtsman with Messrs. J. Thomson, Glasgow, and at the Board of Trade, he took charge of contracts for marine engine works in the Isle of Dogs from 1877 to 1878, when he became superintending engineer for the Bombay Steam Navigation Company first at Glasgow, and later in Bombay, for two years. He was works manager at the Carnac Iron Works, Bombay, from 1880 to 1883 and managing partner of Messrs. Donald, Henesey and Couper from 1883 to 1888. After taking charge of the engineering branch of Messrs. John Fleming and Company for a year he returned to Scotland, and after employment as a draughtsman to the Fairfield Engineering and Shipbuilding Company, Ltd., at Govan, he was made assistant works manager to Messrs. James Howden and Company, marine engineers, Glasgow.

In 1891 he was appointed superintending engineer to Messrs. James Fisher and Sons, shipowners, of Barrow-in-Furness. Four years later he went to Messrs. Vickers, Sons and Maxim, Ltd., where he was employed as draughtsman until he was appointed works manager in London for the General Engine and Boiler Company in 1899. He went to the Gold Coast in 1903 for a year as chief engineer to the Abbontiakoon Gold Mines at Tarpua, and from 1904 to 1906, he was technical adviser in the London office of Messrs. T. Wilson and Company, successors to Messrs. Fleming, of Bombay.

From 1906 until the outbreak of war in 1914, he was a consulting and inspecting engineer in London, and also reported on special-purpose machinery on the Continent; he designed the workshops, factory, and special plant for an important factory in the Argentine Republic, for the extraction of tannin from Quobratiko wood, and installed the air-compressing plant at both ends of a 4-mile tunnel in Tuscany in 1913.

He was appointed a lieutenant in the Royal Marine Forces, in the Technical Corps of Submarine Miners, in 1915; and promoted to be captain in the same year. From 1916 to 1917 he was employed by the Ministry of Munitions, in the high-explosives department, on the design of factories and plant. In August 1917 he obtained a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps; he served as an equipment officer in the engine repair section until the termination of the war.

Captain Donald, whose death occurred at the age of 87 on 22nd September 1940, was a Member of the Institution from 1880 until 1896 and was re-elected a Member in 1918.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1871 census
  2. 1911 census
  3. 1871 census
  4. 1891 census
  5. 1901 census
  6. 1911 census
  7. 1941 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  • Mechanical Engineer records