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Thomas Comings Hide

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Thomas Comings Hide (1825-1891)

1864 Thomas Comings Hide, Consulting Marine Engineer, 45 Fenchurch Street, London.[1]

1891 October 8th. Died.[2]


1891 Obituary [3]

THOMAS COMINGS HIDE was born at Camberwell on 12th October 1825, being the son of Mr. G. E. Hide, comptroller to the General Post Office, London.

Though educated with a view to the church, his taste for mechanics proved so strong that in April 1842 he was articled for five years as a pupil to Messrs. Miller and Ravenhill, marine engineers, of London.

At the expiration of his articles, he was engaged as a draughtsman by Mr. Heseltine of Bow, whence in 1848 be went as second engineer on board the "Ranger," one of the small screw-steamers at that time employed in the cattle trade.

Subsequently he joined the "Ondine," a vessel belonging to Mr. Baldwin, the proprietor of the "Morning Herald," employed in carrying despatches across the channel on the Dover station.

In January 1849 he accepted an appointment as second engineer on board the paddle-wheel frigate "Bombay" of 400 horse-power, then fitting out for the republicans who were actively engaged in Italy at that time of political complications; but as the vessel on completion was not permitted by the British authorities to leave the Thames, he entered the German navy in February 1850 in the same capacity, and joined the "Cacique" then lying at Bremen, and was subsequently appointed chief engineer to the "Barbarossa" in the same fleet.

In February 1853 he entered the service of Messrs. Robert Stephenson and Co. of Newcastle-on-Tyne, as outdoor manager in their marine engineering department; and left them on accepting the office of chief engineer of the screw frigate "Carlo Alberto," ordered from that firm by the Sardinian government. Subsequently taking part in the operations in the Black Sea during the Crimean war, he was publicly thanked by the admiral of the fleet for the valuable services he rendered during that period.

On his return to England he accepted an appointment under Mr. Miller, who had retired from active business in 1852, and with whom he continued until Mr. Miller left for America, where he subsequently died.

In 1858 he became manager to Messrs. John and Alfred Blyth of London, with whom he remained about four years.

In 1862 he commenced business on his own account as a consulting marine engineer in Fenchurch Street, where amongst other work he designed light-draft steamers for the Rhine, Danube, Euphrates, and Weser, and was largely engaged in the preparation and outfit of blockade runners during the American civil war which had commenced in 1861.

In 1869 he received the appointment of chief engineer to Kidderpore Dockyard, Calcutta; but on account of the ill-health of his wife he had to return to England in the following year, when he took offices in Cullum Street, in partnership with Mr. Thompson until 1878.

Having been appointed consulting marine engineer to the Indian State Railways, he carried out a great amount of work, principally light-draft stern and side paddle-wheel steamers and barges.

On the introduction of torpedo boats he was also consulted by friends on various questions connected therewith.

At the end of 1890, finding that his physical powers were no longer equal to the discharge of his duties, he retired from business; but he gradually became weaker from creeping paralysis, and passed away on 8th October 1891 in the sixty-sixth year of his age.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1864.



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