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British Industrial History

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Thomas Lumsden

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Thomas Lumsden (1868-1924) of the Lumsden Machine Co

Alexandria Works [1], Coulthards Lane, East Street, Gateshead.


1924 Obituary [2]

THOMAS LUMSDEN, 0.B.E., J.P., was born at Glendale, Northumberland, on 24th March 1868, and received his early education at Crookham, near Coldstream.

He served no regular apprenticeship, but helped his father for four years driving traction engines and threshing machines.

In 1888 he started as a millwright in the works of Sir W. G. Armstrong and Co., being engaged on the erection of heavy hydraulic cranes and forging presses, and then was transferred to the machine shop, where he was in charge of contract work on crank and tail-end shafts.

He finished as a leading hand so cutting tools in 1894, and during the period from 1888 he attended evening classes in Gateshead and Newcastle-on-Tyne.

In 1895 he started in business for himself, making lathes, wood-working machines and grinding machines, and in 1906 he founded the Lumsden Machine Co., Ltd., Gateshead, of which he was Managing Director until his death, specializing in grinding machines, in respect to which he had brought out over forty patents.

In the early period of the War he originated the idea of a National Tool Factory at Gateshead, for the manufacture of shell-boring tools, and he was appointed in 1916 Director under the Ministry of Munitions.

Since the Armistice he developed a large range of special heavy duty surface grinders, which is now the main business of his company.

1917 Patented an Ingot Casting Machine. [3]

1920 He became a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

His death took place after a short illness at Gateshead, on 17th July 1924, at the age of fifty-six.

Read his obituary in The Engineer here.


1924 Obituary[4]

"The Late Mr. Thomas Lumsden. — The founder of the Lumsden Machine Company, Limited, of Gateshead, and a prolific inventor of devices for use in grinding operations, Mr. Thomas Lumsden, died at his residence at Gateshead on July 17, at the age of 56 years. He received his early training under his father and uncle, and later worked as a millwright in Messrs. Armstrong’s works at Newcastle, where he acquired very useful experience in erecting heavy plant. After returning to the machine shop he devoted much of his time to gauge making and cutting tools. On giving up his post as leading hand on cutting tools with Messrs. Armstrong, he commenced business for himself, specialising on lathes of 3£-in. centres for model makers. In 1906 the Lumsden Machine Company, Limited, was started by him, and he remained as the managing director until his death. This firm, as is well known, devoted special attention to grinding machines and makes use of his many patents. Of these the oscillating tool grinder is erhaps the most notable, and his name will always e associated with this valuable appliance. During the European War he originated the idea of a National Tool Factory for making shell tools by grinding processes, and when the project was started he was appointed its director under the Ministry of Munitions."


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