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Stephen Alley

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Stephen Alley (1840-1898) of Alley and MacLellan

1867 Patent to Stephen Alley, of the firm of Neilson Brothers, of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North Britain, Engineers, for the invention of "improvements in machine tools for manufacturing parts of locomotive engines, parts of which improvements are also applicable to other similar or analogous purposes."[1]

1870 Patent to John Hornsby Carruthers and Stephen Alley, both of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North Britain, Engineers, in respect of the invention of "improvements in wheels."[2]

1872 Patent to Stephen Alley, of Glasgow, in the. county of Lanark, North Britain, Engineer, in respect of the invention of "improvements in steam boilers."[3]

1873 Patent to Stephen Alley, of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North Britain, Engineer, in respect of the invention of " improvements in wheels."[4]

1873 Patent to Stephen Alley and James Baird Handyside, both of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North Britain, Engineers, in respect of the invention of "improvements in fastenings for connecting and strengthening the ends of rails for railways or tramways, and in apparatus for applying the same."[5]

1874 Patent to Stephen Alley, of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, North Britain, Engineer, in respect of the invention of "improvements in steam boilers and in tools to be used in cleaning and repairing the same."[6]

1875 Foundation of Alley and MacLellan

His eldest son Stephen Evans Alley joined the business.

Died 1898.

1898 Obituary [7]

STEPHEN ALLEY, whose father was a Dublin medical man, was born on 22nd February 1840 at Blessington, County Kildare, Ireland.

Having a strong desire to become an engineer, he commenced his apprenticeship at the age of fourteen with Messrs. Forrest and Barr in Glasgow, and served the greater part of his time with Messrs. A. and J. Inglis.

On the completion of his apprenticeship he spent some time with Mr. Edmund Hunt, patent agent in that city.

Subsequently he had the management of the tool department in the Hyde Park Works of Messrs. Neilson Brothers.

About 1870 he entered into a five years' partnership with Mr. John H. Carruther, who eventually became his brother-in-law, as consulting engineers. During this period he laid out and erected the Clutha Engineering Works for Messrs. P. and W. Maclellan, in the south-western suburbs of Glasgow; and designed the engine which still drives the works of Messrs. Charles Connell and Co., shipbuilders, at Whiteinch.

About 1875 he entered into partnership with Mr. John A. MacLellan, and established the firm of Alley and MacLellan, who started their factory under the name of the Sentinel Works in London Road. Here he invented several ingenious machines for facilitating the economic manufacture of special articles. As these works were soon found too small and did not afford scope enough for extension, a new factory was started at Polmadie on the south side of Glasgow, on a site having direct connection with the Caledonian Railway.

Here in 1882-3 the manufacture of Mr. George Westinghouse's high-speed engine was undertaken, of which a great number have since been made and are now running in all parts of the world. About the same time the works were extended to include the building of light-draught steamers, many of which were constructed for the navigation of the Nile and of rivers in India and elsewhere.

For these the firm also built engines to drive them. They likewise brought out a feed-water filter, an ingenious steam-steering gear, and other valuable engineering devices, which met with appreciation. The works furnish many evidences of Mr. Alloy's original inventive ability and clever scheming for economising work and power.

Some years ago he joined in establishing the works of the British Hydraulic Foundry at Whiteinch, of which he and his partner became directors. At these works were manufactured the whole of the segments required fur the Blackwa11 Tunnel, London, the largest tunnel yet constructed on the shield tool segment method, 27 feet diameter and 6,200 feet long; they amounted to upwards of 20,000 tons.

At the same works were also made practically the whole of the segments required by the Glasgow Central Railway; as well as those for one of the Mound tunnels, Edinburgh, constructed by the North British Railway in connection with the widening of the Waverley Station; and likewise 120,000 segments, weighing about 20,000 tons, for the Glasgow District Subway. Each of the moulding machines was capable of turning out one segment every 48 minute's throughout the whole working day of 9. hours.

Having many years ago joined the board of the Steel Company of Scotland, he was the only engineering director thereon since the death of the managing director Mr. Henry Dubs.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1877. and at the Glasgow Meeting in 1879 contributed a paper on the maintenance of constant pressure in water service pipes; and for the Glasgow Meeting in 1895 he acted as chairman of one of the executive sub-committees. He took a prominent part in the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1888, and for the contemplated exhibition in 1901 was chosen as chairman of the machinery section.

His death took place on March 1898 at the age of fifty-fright, as the result of pneumonia consequent upon taking a chill.

Obituary 1898[8]

"...death took place on the 23rd ult. at his residence, Langside House, Glasgow, of Mr Stephen Alley, of Messrs. Alley and Maclellan, Sentinel Engineering Works, Polmadie, Glasgow.

Although slightly indisposed Mr. Alley was at business up to four days prior to his decease, but succumbed on the the 23rd as stated to acute pneumonia. The deceased gentlemen, who was widely known in engineering circle throughout the kingdom, was a native of Dublin, where he was born 58 years ago. When about fifteen years of age he left his native city for Glasgow, and commenced his apprenticeship as an engineer with Messrs.Neilson Brothers, whose works were..."More.

1898 Obituary [9]

STEPHEN ALLEY died of acute pneumonia on March 23, 1898, at his residence, Langside House, Glasgow.

Born in Dublin fifty-eight years ago, he left his native city at the age of fifteen for Glasgow, and began his apprenticeship as an engineer with Messrs. Neilson Brothers, whose works were then in Hyde Park Street. Eight years later he had risen to be manager of the tool department of the works, but some time subsequently commenced business on his own account as a consulting engineer in the city.

Twenty-five years ago or thereabout he started the Sentinel engineering business in conjunction with Mr. J. A. Maclellan, the works at first being in London Road, but afterwards removed to the Polmadie district, where they have undergone constant expansion. Besides the manufacture of the Sentinel water valves, marine engines have also been produced by the firm in considerable numbers for light draught and other small craft; and the construction of light draught stern-wheel steamers and barges for shipment abroad still forms a branch of the business carried on at the Sentinel works.

Some years ago Mr. Alley, in conjunction with others, established the British Hydraulic Foundry Company, with works at Whiteinch near Glasgow, mainly for the manufacture of the cast iron segments now so largely used in the structure of railway and other tunnels. Mr. Alley's advice and assistance were very often enlisted in connection with matters affecting the engineering industry and profession. He was a prominent member of committee of the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888, and was lately nominated as chairman of the Machinery Section Committee of the Exhibition to be held in the city in 1901. In local public life he took a fairly active part. He was Hon. Colonel of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of Highland Light Infantry, having been the first to be enrolled as a member of the original corps of engineers and shipbuilders in 1859.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1886.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 10 May 1867
  2. London Gazette 4 Oct 1870
  3. London Gazette 12 Nov 1872
  4. London Gazette 6 May 1873
  5. London Gazette 14 April 1874
  6. London Gazette 26 Jan 1875
  7. 1898 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  8. The Engineer 1898/04/01, p506
  9. 1898 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries