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British Industrial History

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William Edward Hardy

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William Edward Hardy (1859-1927)

1859 Born in Rouen, son of John Hardy; brought up in Vienna[1]

1881 Started apprenticeship in workshops of the Southern Railway of Austria

1883 On completing his apprenticeship was appointed to the Vienna Office of the Vacuum Brake Co of London

Subsequently appointed as assistant locomotive superintendent in Serbian railways

1885 Left Serbia because of his father's severe illness

1886 Appointed manager of the Vienna office of the Vacuum Brake Co

1889 Also with his brother established in Vienna an iron works and foundry for making components for the vacuum brake apparatus

1908 Joined I Mech E


1927 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM EDWARD HARDY attained a world-wide reputation as the inventor of the Clayton-Hardy vacuum brake for long goods trains.

He was born at Gateshead-on-Tyne in 1859 and in his early youth went with his father to Vienna, eventually becoming president of the engineering firm of Gebruder Hardy of Vienna.

In 1906 and 1907 Mr. Hardy conducted with remarkable success the trials of the new brake on gradients of 1 in 33 on the Arlberg section of the Austrian State Railways, in the presence of eminent railway engineers from India and many European countries. The brake was adopted by the Austrian Government and further satisfactory tests were conducted in 1912 by L' Unite Technique of Berne. The results of these and other tests were described by Mr. Hardy in the discussion following the paper on the application of the vacuum brake to long freight trains by Sir Henry Fowler and Mr. H. N. Gresley before the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1922.

In 1908 Mr. Hardy was elected a director of the Vacuum Brake Company, and this position, together with that of European representative of the company, he held until his death on 15th August 1927, in Vienna.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1908.



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