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British Industrial History

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Percy Venables Vernon

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Percy Venables Vernon (c1871-1928), chief designer of Alfred Herbert

1928 Obituary [1]

PERCY VENABLES VERNON, 0.B.E., principal designer and director of Messrs. Alfred Herbert, joined the firm in 1897, at the time when the foundations of its success in the manufacture of machine-tools were being laid.

He was apprenticed at the age of 16 with Messrs. Kendall and Gent of Manchester, and he secured, four years later, a Whitworth Exhibition.

He then joined Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox at their Renfrew works, where he was in charge of the design of special machine-tools.

From Messrs. Babcock he proceeded to Messrs. Alfred Herbert, where his training and natural ability enabled him to produce a series of designs for machine-tools, whose outstanding excellence and special character were in large measure due to him. For nearly thirty years Mr. Vernon was chief designer to the firm, and he continued to take a large share in that work after his appointment as a director in 1911.

During the War Mr. Vernon was Sir Alfred Herbert's assistant in the Machine Tool Department of the Ministry of Munitions, and he was a member of the Cutting Tools Research Committee of the Institution from its inception.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1902, and his death occurred on 22nd July 1928.

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