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British Industrial History

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D. McCall White

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D'Orsay McCall White

Born 28 November 1880, the son of William Dickson White and Susanna D'Orsay (McCall) White. His father was a banker in Glasgow and his mother was the daughter of an engineer in that city. He received his technical education at the Airdrie Technical College, and Royal Technical College of Glasgow. During the same period he served his apprenticeship with Gibb and Hogg Ltd., and the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. After completing his apprenticeship, he became assistant and later chief engineer to Alley and MacLellan. He then became assistant chief engineer of the Mo-Car Syndicate, Ltd., of Paisley, and then chief engineer of the All British Motor Car Co., Ltd., of Glasgow. He moved on to the Daimler Motor Car Co., before joining D. Napier and Son. From 1913-14 he was with Crossley Motors in Manchester.[1]

1911 Patented a multiple-jet carburettor jointly with D. Napier and Son (Patent No. 12,244, 20 May 1911)[2]

Emigrated to the USA, where he was engaged on the design of the first Cadillac V8 engine, the Type 51, introduced in 1914. This engine was designed under the leadership of White as Cadillac's chief engineer 1914-1917, later a vice president of Cadillac. He was hired by Henry Leland for his V-engine expertise from his employment as chief engineer at Napier, and previously Daimler in Coventry. He later moved to Nash with LaFayette. White was appointed to a committee of three to supervise the development of the V12 Liberty Aircraft engine.

1925 Consulting Engineer, member of ASME and the SAE. Described as 'one of the most prominent designers of the country'.[3]

'Mr. White, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, and a student of the Royal Technical college there, entered the motor car field in 1902. He rose rapidly to important positions, becoming chief engineer of the Daimler Motor Car company, Ltd., of Coventry, England, and general manager of the company's branch in Naples, Italy. While in Naples Mr. White was the companion of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria, of England, on various automobile trips.
Upon his return from Italy, Mr. White became chief engineer and works manager for Napier & Son, Ltd. The Napier car of Mr. White's design held the world’s speed record.
He came to the United States in 1914 and associated himself with the Cadillac Motor Car company. He was personally responsible for the design of the Cadillac eight cylinder car which created such a sensation in 1914. He became chief engineer and later vice-president of the Cadillac company. During the war Mr. White became involved heart and soul in the design and production of the Liberty motor. He was a member of the supervisory committee of three, and gained the reputation of being a man who actually got things done in a great emergency.'[4]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography' Vol 17
  2. [2] Commercial Motor, 11 July 1912
  3. [3] The Michigan Technic, Volume 38, May 1925
  4. [4] Sacramento Union, Number 42, 12 October 1919