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Thomas Rees Morgan

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Thomas Rees Morgan (1834-1897)

of Morgan Engineering Works, Alliance, Ohio, United States.

1898 Obituary [1]

THOMAS REES MORGAN was born at Penydarren, Merthyr Tydfil, on 31st March 1834, being the youngest of a family of six children.

When eight years old he went to work in a coal mine, in which two years later he was run over by a number of loaded coal wagons, the accident resulting in the loss of his left leg at the knee.

He was then sent to school for three years to Mr. Taliesin Williams, the father of his life-long friend the late Edward Williams (Proceedings 1886, page 264).

At the age of fourteen he left school, and served an apprenticeship of five years in the machine shop of the Penydarran Iron Works; after which he had charge for five years of the large machine shops at Messrs. Maybrey's works, Llanelly.

In 1865 he emigrated with his family to the United States, and after a brief engagement in the shops of the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad at Pittston, Pennsylvania, he went to the Cambria Iron Works at Johnstown, and thence to Pittsburg, where he was engaged first as foreman in the machine shops of the Allegheny Valley Railroad, then as machinist in the Atlas Works, next as superintendent of Smith and Porter's machine works, and finally as master mechanic in the Atlas Works.

In February 1868 he started business for himself in Pittsburg, manufacturing steam-hammers and other special machinery. After being carried on here for three years, the business had grown so rapidly that in August 1871 he removed to Alliance, Ohio, where he organized the Morgan Engineering Company, employing at first about twenty mechanics. At the present time employment is given to about six hundred trained workmen.

The articles manufactured are mostly of his own designing, many of them being specially produced to meet ever-varying requirements. They include over a thousand steam-hammers for general forging and for forging steel, drop and helve hammers worked by steam, hydraulic machinery, electric travelling cranes, and electric punching and shearing presses, from the smallest to the largest sizes used in the country. The 80-ton hammer used in the Midvale Steel Works, and weighing 900 tons, was made by him; as was also the 120-ton special overhead crane for serving the hammer.

He was a pioneer in the manufacture of hydraulic machinery, which he supplied to all the shipyards in the United States. He was also the first to construct electric travelling cranes, of which he built over a thousand for various works. In the different sections of the Carnegie Steel Works alone there are eighty-five largo travelling cranes designed and constructed by him. Two travelling cranes, each capable of lifting 150 tons, were designed and erected in the navy yard at Washington and in the Watervliet Arsenal at West Troy.

Among other heavy machinery turned out from his works are fifty steam plate-shears, with blades from 100 to 135 inches long, for shearing cold steel plates up to 2 inches thickness, each machine weighing from 75 to 200 tons; and one hydraulic shearing press, believed to be the largest ever built, having a power of 3,500 tons, which has sheared with ease steel blooms 42 inches wide by 23 inches thick.

The first successful automatic disappearing gun-carriage for firing all round a complete circle, known as the Gordon-Morgan disappearing gun-carriage, was built in his works; it weighs about 300 tons. Three of these carriages were built by him for the government within the past three years.

In 1882 he was instrumental in organizing the Solid Steel Co. of Alliance, of which he was president until 1889; from this concern arose the combination of steel-casting manufacturers known as the American Steel Casting Co.

His death, which took place suddenly from failure of the heart on 6th September 1897, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, is attributed to his anxiety for the recovery of his wife, and his devoted attention to her during a dangerous illness extending over the four months preceding.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1885, and was also a Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and of the Iron and Steel Institute. At the time of his death he occupied also various positions of influence and trust in Alliance.

1897 Obituary [2]

THOMAS REES MORGAN, of the well-known Morgan Engineering Company of Alliance, Ohio, died suddenly on September 6, 1897, at the age of sixty-three.

Born in Wales, he left his native country for the United States in 1865, and three years later began business in Pittsburg as a maker of steam-hammers and other special machinery. In 1871 he went to Alliance, and built the great works that made him famous.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1882.

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