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British Industrial History

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William Armstrong Woodeson

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1899 With John Brokenshire Furneaux, patented improvements in valves for feed pumps, feed heaters, boilers, etc; address of both inventors was given as Victoria Works, Gateshead (which is where Clarke, Chapman and Co were located). Another patent that year with Furneaux concerned improvement in steam boilers.

1901 Patent with Clarke, Chapman and Co for improvements in apparatus for regulating the motive fluid to feed pumps

Continued patenting until after WWII


1949 Obituary [1]




1950 Obituary [2]

"WILLIAM ARMSTRONG WOODESON, who Was Well known in Tyneside engineering circles as a prominent technical and industrial engineer, was the chairman and managing director of Messrs. Clarke, Chapman and Company, Ltd., of Gateshead, marine engineers, and had been associated with that firm for very nearly sixty years. He had also occupied the chair of Messrs. Clyde, Crane and Booth, Ltd., since the inception of that Company. He received his general education at the Esplanade House Academy, Southsea, and in 1885 began to serve a five years' apprenticeship with Messrs. A. Grant and Company, Ltd., of Portsmouth, general engineers, concurrently attending classes at the Technical College in that town. Shortly after the completion of his practical training he entered the Victoria works of Messrs. Clarke, Chapman and Company, and successively occupied the positions of chargeman, foreman, assistant manager, and head of the drawing office.

He was made general manager with a seat on the board in 1910. After serving as a captain in the Royal Engineers Volunteer Regiment during the 1914-18 war Mr. Woodeson returned to Messrs. Clarke, Chapman and Company as managing director, becoming chairman in 1928. He soon displayed a marked gift for invention, and in the earliest days of his association with the firm designed the slow-speed feed pumps with the characteristic distributing steam valves which bear his name. In 1900, as a departmental manager Mr Woodeson turned his attention to steam raising plant. The company had manufactured a Petersen water-tube boiler for the Buteshire and Mr. Woodeson sailed with her on a guarantee trip to New Zealand and back. This established in him an interest in water-tube boilers which was maintained throughout his life, resulting in the successful introduction, in 1901, of the first Woodeson boiler, in which all the tubes were straight and of equal length. He devoted close personal attention to building up this side of the business and the redesigned Woodeson boiler was fitted in a number of industrial plants and power stations. He was also a keen student of the application of pulverized coal for steam raising, and his patent burners, developed in 1928 and 1929, became well known, and eventually with their associated equipment were installed in the S.S.

Berwindlea, the first vessel to be built for pulverized-fuel firing. Mr. Woodeson was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1902, and was transferred to Membership three years later.

He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Institution of Naval Architects, and had served as President of the North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders. In addition he was a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, and a Freeman of the City of London. His death occurred on 30th September 1949, at the age of eighty."


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