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British Industrial History

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Thomas Wilson Weston

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Thomas Wilson Weston (1858-1918)

1918 Obituary [1]

THOMAS WILSON WESTON was born at Coalbrookdale, Shropshire, on 7th August 1858.

His early education was received at Sidcot School, Somersetshire, after which he served an apprenticeship of four years at the works of the Coalbrookdale Iron Co., of which his father was manager for several years.

On its completion he attended the engineering course at University College, London, subsequently returning to the Coalbrookdale Co., where he was engaged in the drawing office for two years, and then became a departmental manager for another two years.

In 1885 he started on his own account as a manufacturer of agricultural machinery at Kettering, which business was transferred later to St. Germans, near Plymouth, for the purpose of amalgamation with a similar concern.

Having sold this business in 1892, be entered into partnership in a boat-building venture in Dover, and subsequently became leading draughtsman for about eight months with the Daimler Motor Co.

In 1897 he was appointed chief engineer at the cocoa works of Messrs. Rowntree and Co., York, and his association with this firm was during a rapid development of their manufacturing resources necessitating a large increase in the power installation.

He resigned this appointment in 1904 to take up a similar position with Messrs. Joseph Watson and Sons, of Leeds, with whom he continued until his death.

The expansion of their Whitehall Soap Works and the creation of the affiliated concerns at Selby — The Olympia Oil and Cake Co. and Ardol, Ltd. — afforded ample scope for his abilities. Of the former company Mr. Weston was entirely responsible for the installation of the steam and power plants involving the generation of 6,000 h.p. The latter company is one of the largest oil-hardening concerns in the world, which in its initiation presented many difficult chemical engineering problems.

During 1917 the absorption of Messrs. Joseph Watson and Sons' business by Messrs. Lever Bros. and the separation from the Selby Companies necessitated the severance of Mr. Weston's connexion with Ardol, Ltd., of which he was managing director, and he confined his sole attention to the Whitehall Soap Works.

His death took place at Huntingdon on 10th May 1918, in his sixtieth year.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1903.

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