Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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James Harper

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James Harper (c1878-1941)


1942 Obituary [1]

JAMES HARPER who was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1911, was managing director of Messrs. Davis, Turnbull and Company, Ltd., of Sheffield. He served his apprenticeship from 1892 to 1899 with Messrs. John Hetherington and Sons, Ltd., in Manchester, during which period he received training in millwrighting and tool making.

He remained with that firm as foreman in charge of the tool department until 1902, when he went to Canada as foreman erector to Messrs. E. Leonard and Sons, engineers and boiler makers, at London, Ontario. On his return to England in 1905 he was employed for six years, as foreman, and later, as works manager in charge of the engineers' tool department of Messrs. Thomas Firth and Sons, Ltd., Sheffield. After a further six years' engagement with Messrs. Seebohm and Dieckstahl, he joined the staff of Messrs. Arthur Balfour and Company and remained with that business until 1934. Mr. Harper was the inventor of several accessories for machine tools.

His association with Messrs. Davis, Turnbull and Company, which began in 1934, lasted until his death, which occurred on 8th April 1941, in his sixty-third year. For the last twelve months of his life he was also chairman and managing director of Messrs. Harper and Schofield, Ltd. He was responsible for the execution of a number of contracts for the supply of high-speed drilling machines to several factories and munition works.


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