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Edwin Gilbert Izod

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Edwin Gilbert Izod (1876-1946) of E. Izod and Son and of Weymann Motor Bodies

His name became associated with a method of testing materials

1876 Born in Southsea, son of Edwin and Ellen Izod

1893 Apprentice with Maudslay, Sons and Field

1899 Studied at University College London, including one year's original research work

1901 Joined Willans and Robinson in the experimental department under Captain H R Sankey

1902 Joined I Mech E as an Associate Member; worked for Willans and Robinson of Rugby as an experimental engineer

1946 Died in Surrey

1946 Obituary [1]


Mr. E. G. Izod, M.B.E., the originator of the well-known impact test which bears his name, died on 2 October 1946, aged 70 years.

He had been in failing health for a considerable time, though he continued, until shortly before his death, to give his personal attention to the affairs of Weymann's Motor Bodies (1925), Ltd., of Addlestone, of which he was Chairman and Managing Director.

Although his name was so widely known among engineers and metallurgists throughout the world, Mr. Izod himself was not so generally recognized by them as the author of the Izod impact test; partly, no doubt, because he pronounced his name "Izzod", whereas the practice has developed of referring to the test as the "I-zod", but partly also because he regarded its discovery as merely one early incident in a long and active life and admitted candidly that he had done comparatively little to extend its application and interpret its wider significance.

Mr. Izod was a native of Portsmouth, where he was born on 17 July 1876, and received his general education in Vickery's School, in Southsea.

In January 1893, he entered upon an engineering pupilage with Maudslay, Sons, and Field, Lambeth, where he spent the next two and a half years in the shops.

In 1895, he was sent to Pembroke by the firm, who were then installing the machinery in H.M.S. "Renown." Though still only in his 'teens, Izod, who combined a powerful physique with a natural ability to command, was given charge of the work in the main engine room, with strict instructions to admit no one who could not produce the firm's pass; instructions which he obeyed to the extent of ordering out Captain "Jacky" Fisher, who, characteristically, requested Izod's presence in his cabin, and congratulated him on his ability to carry out an order.

After the "Renown" had completed her trials, Izod was sent to Portsmouth Dockyard, where the battleship "Caesar" and the cruiser "Gladiator" were being engined by Maudslay's.

In 1898, he went to University College, London as demonstrator, remaining there for nearly two years, during which time he met a number of eminent engineers in the laboratories; among them Captain H. Riall Sankey, who, in 1900, appointed Izod as his personal assistant at the works of Willans and Robinson, at Rugby. Exposed to Sankey's enthusiasm for the study of entropy, Izod became fired with the same enthusiasm, and did much pioneer work in developing the application of the theory of entropy to turbine design. It was while he was Sankey's assistant that Izod discovered almost by chance the significance of impact on the physical strength of metals. Sankey had been asked to examine a burst shot-gun barrel for possible defects in the steel, and deputed Izod to test the metal against that of a sound barrel. The two steels appeared to be precisely similar. At last he had the idea to put small notched test-pieces in a vice and hit them with a hammer. Under repeated blows, one merely bent over, but the other snapped off short at the first blow. He did little himself to develop a technique of impact testing beyond circularizing a few friends about his "discovery" - which they ignored - and, with promotion to higher office (eventually he became Assistant Managing Director) he was fully occupied with other work.

In 1910, having been offered the post of Chief Consulting Mechanical and Electrical Engineer to the Central Mining Corporation, he left England for Johannesburg, where he remained for 17 years. He was appointed Manager of the Corporation, and Managing Director of the Rand Mines in 1918.

In 1927, he retired, but was soon bored by retirement, and, being offered the post of Managing Director of Weymann Motor Bodies, Ltd., he eagerly accepted it (in his own words) "just for something to do". In that capacity, and as Chairman of the Company, he worked strenuously throughout the war years, expanding considerably the range of bodywork undertaken. Mr. Izod was a member of the Iron and Steel Institute, an honorary member of the Junior Institution of Engineers, and had served on the Committee of the Maudslay Society.

1946 Obituary [2]

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