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British Industrial History

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William Trewyn Hawken

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William Trewyn Hawken (c1885-1938)

1938 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM TREWYN HAWKEN was for many years connected with the nitrate industry in Chile, and was inspecting engineer to the Rosario Nitrate Company, for the firm's nitrate factories. He was born at Bodmin, Cornwall, and in 1901 he won a scholarship which enabled him to study engineering at the School of Technology for Cornwall, at Truro. In 1904 he commenced a four years' apprenticeship with the British Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Company, Ltd., at Trafford Park, Manchester, and was subsequently engaged on the testing of internal combustion engines.

He went to South Wales in 1909 as engineer in charge of the producer gas-driven power station of Messrs. Cory Brothers and Company, Ltd., at Cardiff, and later installed several Koerting gas engines. In addition he was responsible for the general electrification of the company's coal mines. In 1911 he went to Iquiqui, Chile, and joined Messrs. J. K. Robinson, Ltd., as inspector of Diesel-electric power plants for nitrate factories. He rejoined the British Westinghouse Company in 1914 and was sent to supervise the erection of a producer gas-driven power station in Johore Bahru, Malaya, and the installation of the town lighting.

Two years later he returned to Chile as inspecting engineer to Messrs. Buchanan, Jones and Company, a firm owning twelve large nitrate factories. During the next ten years he was responsible for the design, erection, and organization of several other important nitrate plants, and he became inspecting engineer to several nitrate companies. Owing to the "nitrate crisis" of 1927 he joined the Rosario Nitrate Company. Subsequently he returned to England and lived near Chelmsford, where his death occurred on 2nd July 1937, in his fifty-third year.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1920, and was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

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