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British Industrial History

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Thomas Purvis Reay

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Thomas Purvis Reay (1844-1912) of Kitson and Co


1912 Obituary [1]

THOMAS PURVIS REAY was born at South Shields on 13th October 1844.

He commenced his engineering career as an apprentice with Messrs. Kitson, Thompson and Hewitson, locomotive engineers, of Leeds, and after passing through the works, he entered the drawing office where he became a highly skilled draughtsman.

After some years' experience in that capacity he was appointed works manager, subsequently becoming partner, managing director, and after the death of Lord Airedale in March 1911, chairman of Kitson and Co., Ltd.

He possessed indomitable energy and skill, and besides having an intimate knowledge locomotive engineering in all its branches, and being instrumental in furthering the evolution and development of locomotive practice to meet the constant growth of modern requirements, he had also considerable experience in designing and manufacturing rolling-mill and blowing engines. He was greatly interested in the early application of steam-engines for tractive purposes on tramways, and his knowledge of general engineering was of an extensive character.

His death took place suddenly at his residence at Weetwood Lodge, Leeds, on 22nd February 1912, at the age of sixty-seven.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1882, and was appointed a Member of Council in 1906, a position which he held at the time of his death.

He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Iron and Steel Institute.


1912 Obituary [2]

THOMAS PURVIS REAY died at his residence, Weetwood Lodge, Leeds, on the 22nd February, 1912, aged 67.

Born at South Shields on the 13th October, 1844, he served a pupilage of 6 years with Messrs. Kitson and Company, of the Airedale Foundry, Leeds, afterwards entering the drawing office, where he became a highly skilled draughtsman. In this capacity he was engaged in the design of locomotive, tramway and waterworks engines, forge and blast furnace machinery, winding and hauling engines, and hydraulic cranes.

In 1875 he was appointed Works Manager, subsequently becoming a partner in the firm, and later, Managing Director. On the death of Lord Airedale, in March, 1911, he became Chairman of Messrs. Kitson and Company, Limited. He had an intimate knowledge of locomotive engineering in all its branches, and of the design and manufacture of rolling-mill and blowing-engines; he was also interested in the early application of steam-power to tramway traction.

Mr. Reay was a man of indomitable energy and great technical ability, and possessed a remarkably keen eye for the detection of incongruities in design. He served a term of office as Chairman of the Yorkshire Association of Students centred at Leeds, and took much interest in their welfare, as well as in many matters connected with the Institution’s interests. He was a member of several committees of the Engineering Standards Committee. He was also a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and served on the council of that body for several years before his death.

Mr. Reay was elected a Member of The Institution on the 24th May, 1887.


1912 Obituary [3]

THOMAS PURVIS REAP died suddenly on February 22, 1912, at his residence, Weetwood Lodge, Far Headingley, Yorks.

He was born in October 1844, and served during six years, from 1859 to 1865, as a pupil in the works of Messrs. Kitson & Co., Limited, Airedale Foundry, Leeds. During the nine following years, from 1866 to 1875, he served with that firm in the designing of locomotive, tramway, and water-works engines; machinery for the manufacture of iron and steel, in connection with blast-furnaces and forges; winding and hauling-engines for collieries; hydraulic machinery for cranes, and so forth.

For eight years, from 1876 to 1884, he acted as works manager, and supervised the construction of the same class of machinery. Ten years later, in 1885, he became a partner. When, in 1900, the concern was turned into a limited liability company, Mr. Reay became the managing director, and on the death of the late Lord Airedale he succeeded him as chairman of the company.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a member of Council of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1882.


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