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British Industrial History

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Arthur Albert Rowse

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Arthur Albert Rowse (1885-1959), MBE, MIME, MICE, MIAE, MIEE

c.1885 Born

c.1899 Apprenticed

Awarded Whitworth Scholarship at Cambridge University

1909 of Engineering Laboratory, Cambridge University

1909 Carried out tests on new hydraulic rock drill invented by W. Wolski and demonstrated at the station of the London Hydraulic Power Co at Millbank[1]

WWI Worked with Ministry of Supply where he came into contact with William Morris

1918 Joined W. R. M. Motors as production manager

Became a director when Morris Motors was formed

A director (presumably) of Flettons

1933 retired from Morris

1939 Appointed Director of Machine Tools by the Ministry of Supply, age 54[2]

c.1938 Founded Langley Alloys to make a new type of bronze alloy which found extensive use in torpedoes and other naval equipment

1939 Living near Oxford

1943 Chairman of Venner Time Switches Ltd[3]

Identified opportunity in new type of battery which was then widely used in aircraft and guided missiles

Chairman of S. G. Brown

1959 Died[4]


1959 Obituary [5]

ARTHUR ALBERT ROWSE, C.B.E., M.A. (Cantab.), B.Sc.(Eng.), who was born on 7 May, 1885, died on 27 June, 1959.

He was educated at Portsmouth Municipal Secondary School and received his practical training at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard. He studied engineering at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, where he obtained an Honours B.Sc.(Eng.) degree in 1906. He was awarded a Whitworth Scholarship and later he was engaged on research work on gaseous explosions under Professor B. Hopkinson, M.I.C.E., at Cambridge, where he obtained a first-class Honours degree in Engineering.

In 1912 he was appointed an Engineering Inspector to the Board of Education.

During the First World War he was at first Superintending Engineer, Ministry of Munitions, in charge of the Midland area, and later Chairman of the Machine Tool Release Committee, Chairman of an Area Engineering Board, and Chief Engineer, Trench Warfare Department. At the end of the war he was made an O.B.E.

In 1919 Mr Rowse became Production Director of Morris Motors Ltd, in charge of automobile production.

From 1933 he served as a director or consultant concerned with engineering production with several companies, including the Telsen Electric Co., Ltd, Gambrell Radio Communications Ltd, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd, Coneyare Foundry Ltd, Abingdon Works Ltd, Beardmore Diesels Ltd, Webley and Scott Ltd, and the Daimler Co., Ltd.

In 1936 he became General Manager of the Aircraft Division of Rootes Securities Ltd, and organized the entire aircraft activities of the company, including the planning, erection equipment, organization, and staffing of an aero-engine factory at Speke.

For a period at the beginning of the Second World War, Mr Rowse was Controller of Machine Tools in the Ministry of Supply, and during and after the war he was a director of several companies associated with the war effort.

He was Chairman of S. G. Brown Ltd (manufacturers of gyro compasses and electronic equipment for the Navy), of Langley Alloys Ltd (a firm manufacturing high-duty alloys, which he started himself in 1938), and of Venner Ltd (manufacturers of time switches, parking meters, and a lightweight silver-zinc battery). He was also an honorary adviser to the Admiralty Compass Observatory. He was made a C.B.E. in 1946.

Mr Rowse was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. Elected an Associate Member in 1919, he was transferred to the class of Members in 1939.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Dec 22, 1909
  2. The Times, Oct 20, 1939
  3. The Times, Jun 24, 1943
  4. The Times, Jul 17, 1959
  5. 1959 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  • The Times, Aug 11, 1959