Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 138,143 pages of information and 223,038 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
James Manson (1845-1935) was a Scottish engineer, born in Saltcoats, Ayrshire. He was Locomotive Superintendent of two Scottish railway companies.
He obtained employment at the Kilmarnock works of the Glasgow and South Western Railway (GSWR) in September 1861 and worked there for eight years. He then spent one year at Barclay Curle and Company, shipbuilders of Govan.
This was followed by five years at sea with the Bibby Line during which time he became a chief engineer.
He worked again at the GSWR Kilmarnock works from 1875 to October 1883.
His next appointment was as Locomotive Superintendent at the Great North of Scotland Railway
1890/1 he returned to the GSWR in 1890 or 1891 and was appointed Locomotive Superintendent.
1905 Locomotive Superintendent of the Glasgow and South Western Railway.
1911 Manson retired from the GSWR.
1935 He died in Kilmarnock on 5 June 1935
1935 Obituary 
JAMES MANSON occupied the position of locomotive superintendent of the Glasgow and South Western Railway for twenty-two years.
He was born at Saltcoats, and in 1862 he commenced his apprenticeship in the shops of the Glasgow and South Western Railway at Kilmarnock. After serving for five years, he was employed for an additional two years in the drawing office.
He then joined Messrs. Barclay, Curle and Company, of Glasgow; after a year's workshop experience in marine engineering, he went to sea as third engineer in Messrs. John Bibby's steamships, trading between Liverpool and the Mediterranean. Subsequently he rose to be chief engineer.
In 1875 he returned to the Glasgow and South Western Railway as locomotive inspector and assistant works manager, becoming works manager in 1878. Five years later he was appointed locomotive, carriage, and wagon superintendent of the Great North of Scotland Railway. He introduced an early type of eight-wheeled tender, in which a long rigid wheelbase was avoided by arranging the first two axles as a bogie. In addition he introduced the swing-link bogie into British locomotive practice.
One of his most notable inventions was the automatic tablet-exchange apparatus for single-line working, for which he declined to take out a patent, in order to make its adoption as easy as possible.
In 1890 Mr. Manson returned to the Glasgow and South Western Railway as locomotive superintendent, and held this position until his retirement in 1912. In an endeavour to secure better-balanced locomotives, he designed in 1897 a four-cylinder simple-expansion engine. The inside cylinders had a common steam chest between them, whilst those outside were provided with valves above, operated by rocking shafts connected to the inside valves.
In 1903 he introduced the 4 6 0 type for the heaviest expresses; one of these engines was used for an extended series of experiments with feed water heating.
Mr. Manson was also responsible for the extension and remodelling of the original works at Kilmarnock and for the provision of additional running sheds at Carlisle and Glasgow. After his retirement he devoted himself to municipal affairs for many years.
His death occurred at Deanhill, Kilmarnock, on 5th June 1935, in his ninetieth year.
He had been a Member of the Institution since 1891.