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British Industrial History

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John West

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John West (1839-1922) of West's Gas Improvement Co

1872 Birth of his second son Frederick Joseph West

c.1879 Birth of his son Ernest

1896 of Albion Iron Works, Miles Platting, Manchester.

1922 Obituary [1]

JOHN WEST was born in 1839, and was an articled pupil with the late Mr. John Eunson, engineer to the Northampton Gas Co., with whom he was associated for fourteen years.

Later, when engineer to the Maidstone Gas Co., he invented (1873) a machine for charging and discharging retorts, and the development and perfection of the mechanical handling of coal and coke, largely contributed to his success in the gas industry.

After four years as Chief Engineer to the Gas Department of the Manchester Corporation he resigned in 1884, and devoted himself to the management of West's Gas Improvement Co., Ltd., which was formed to manufacture the plant and machinery introduced by him; and in order to realize fully the advantages of the modern methods of carbonization of coal he founded the Derbyshire Silica Firebrick Co., for the manufacture of a high grade refractory materials.

In collaboration with Mr. Samuel Glover, he introduced the Glover-West system of continuous carbonization in vertical retorts; and later, in 1917, successful experiments on the simultaneous generation of water-gas in these retorts produced large developments in the industry.

Mr. West was a Justice of the Peace for the City of Manchester, and actively interested himself in civic affairs.

He died on the 12th January 1922, in his eighty-third year. Read his obituary in The Engineer 1922/01/20.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1894, and was a Member of the Institutions of Civil Engineers and Gas Engineers, also several organizations connected with the gas industry.

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