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British Industrial History

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Alexander Samuelson

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1859. Planing slotting and grooving machines.
1863. Machinery for the manufacture of oil.

Alexander Samuelson (1826-1873), engineer from Hull.

1826 Born in Hamburg, son of Samuel Hermann Samuelson, a merchant

1845 Started work for Boulton and Watt, designing the atmospheric pumping engines for the South Devon railway, and other works.

1848 Undertook the management of agricultural implement works at Banbury (of James Gardner), which then became the property of his brother, Bernhard Samuelson.

1851 Agricultural implement maker, lodging in London[1]

1854 Became a partner in the engine and shipbuilding works of his brother, Mr. Martin Samuelson, at Hull.

1857 of Scott Street Foundry, Hull.[2]

1861 Moved to London

1864 of 28 Cornhill.

1871 Civil engineer, living in Brighton[3].



1874 Obituary [4]

Mr ALEXANDER SAMUELSON, fourth surviving son of the late Mr. S. H. Samuelson, was born in Hamburg on the 20th of July, 1826.

His father returned to England in the following year, and he received his school education at Hull and at Liverpool.

At an early age he was placed in the works of Messrs. Jones and Potts, of Newton, who were at that time chiefly engaged in the construction of locomotive engines, and at the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Messrs. Bury, Curtis, and Kennedy, of Liverpool, Mr. Bury being then the contractor for locomotive power on the London and Birmingham railway.

On the conclusion of his apprenticeship he entered the works of Messrs. Nasmyth, Gaskell, and Co., of Patricroft, where he took part, under the direction of Mr. James Nasmyth and Mr. Wilson, in the designing of the steam hammer, which was occupying Mr. Nasmyth's principal attention.

In the year 1845 Mr. Samuelson entered the works of Messrs. Boulton and Watt, of Soho, and was employed in designing the atmospheric pumping engines for the South Devon railway, and in other important works.

Ill health obliged him to resign this appointment, and in 1848 he undertook the management of the agricultural implement works at Banbury, now the property of his brother, Mr. B. Samuelson, M.P.

In 1854 he became a partner in the engine and shipbuilding works of his brother, Mr. Martin Samuelson, at Hull, and took an active part in the various contracts, including the building of many oil-crushing mills, and of steam and sailing ships for the Baltic, Indian, and American trades.

In 1861 the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Samuelson removed to London, where he practised as a Consulting Engineer, his time being engaged chiefly in the superintendence of the construction of machinery, in the valuation of engineering plant, and in giving evidence before the courts on questions involving mechanical knowledge. He was, however, also associated with Mr. Brunlees in the preparation of estimates for a second direct line between London and Brighton, and was appointed by Vice-Chancellor Malins one of the official liquidators of the Imperial Land Company of Marseilles.

In the summer of 1873 excessive application to his professional duties brought on symptoms of disease, which he unfortunately disregarded, until a fit of fainting with which he was seized during his summer holiday at Folkestone revealed the existence of heart disease. His anxiety to fulfil the duties of his office in the liquidation of the Marseilles Land Company induced him to break in upon his holiday, and to leave Folkestone for Paris. On the 4th of September he arrived there in apparently good health; but in the course of the same evening he became hysterical, and expired suddenly at the Hotel Westminster whilst the medical attendant who had been sent for was preparing it night draught for him at a neighbouring chemist’s.

His remains were removed to England, and are interred at Kensal Green.

Mr. Samuelson was elected a Member of the Institution on the 1st of April, 1862. He was also a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and of the Institution of Naval Architects. He was one of the original promoters of the volunteer movement in Hull, and held the rank of captain in the East Riding of York Volunteer Artillery under his brother, Mr. Martin Samuelson, as lieutenant-colonel.


1874 Obituary [5]

ALEXANDER SAMUELSON was born at Hamburg on 20th July 1827, and at a very early age came to Hull.

When about fourteen years of age, he was apprenticed to Messrs. Jones and Potts of Newton-le-Willows, and subsequently completed his apprenticeship with Messrs. Bury, Curtis and Kennedy at Liverpool; he then became draughtsman to Messrs. Nasmyth and Co. of Patricroft, and subsequently to Messrs. Boulton and Watt of Birmingham.

He afterwards went for a short time to Tours in France, to assist his eldest brother, Mr. Bernhard Samuelson, in the management of some railway works, and in 1852 he joined his brother, Mr. Martin Samuelson, in extensive engineering and shipbuilding works at Hull; but in 1861, his health having failed through the labour incurred in the management, he left the firm and established himself in London as a consulting engineer, at first in partnership and from 1866 on his own account.

This branch of the profession he followed successfully until his deaths on 5th September 1873, at the age of forty-six.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1857, and in 1858 contributed a paper on oil-mill machinery (see Proceedings Inst. M. E. 1858 page 27).



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851 census
  2. 1857 Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  3. 1871 census
  4. 1874 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  5. 1874 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries