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British Industrial History

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John Smith (1829-1899)

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John Smith (1829-1899) of Thomas Robinson and Son

1899 Obituary [1]

JOHN SMITH was born at Rochdale on 31st March 1829.

On reaching manhood he entered the employment of Mr. Thomas Robinson, the founder of the firm of Messrs. Thomas Robinson and Son, who had established a saw mill in Water Street, Rochdale, and had procured wood-cutting machinery. At the time of his joining them there as foreman, they had determined to enter upon the construction of wood-working machinery. He proved himself very apt, being possessed of remarkable inventive skill.

On their removing to Fishwick Street, and starting there the Railway Works which soon became so extensive, he was raised to the position of manager, and retained this post until his retirement in 1884.

A number of valuable inventions which he devised in wood-working appliances were adopted by the firm, and proved highly successful. On the conversion of the concern into a company he became one of the directors, and for some time was its chairman.

He was one of the founders of the Rochdale Cotton Spinning Co. in 1884, and a director from the beginning; to him was largely due the great success achieved by this undertaking.

While with Messrs. Robinson and Son he travelled much abroad, and the knowledge he thereby gained was of great service.

His death took place at his residence, Wintoun Terrace, Drake Street, Rochdale, on 11th July 1899, at the age of seventy.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1876.

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