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Charles Dickinson West

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Charles Dickinson West (1847-1908)

1908 Obituary [1]

CHARLES DICKINSON WEST was born in Dublin in 1847, being son of the late Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

He entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1865, and during his College course obtained first honours in Experimental Physics, and the Gold Medal and Senior Moderatorship in Natural Science in 1869. He also went through the School of Engineering, obtaining first place in the final examination.

He then served an apprenticeship of three years with Messrs. Laird Brothers, of Birkenhead Iron Works, continuing with them afterwards for about two years as draughtsman.

After passing about a year with Messrs. J. J. Browne and Co., of Gravesend, in June 1873 he entered into partnership with Mr. W. Silver Hall, at the Abbey Engine Works, Nuneaton, being engaged in the manufacture of engines, boilers, general colliery and millwright work, etc.

Owing to serious illness he was compelled to retire in June 1880; but, his health having been re-established, he accepted in June 1882 the post of Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Imperial Engineering College of Japan at Tokyo. Four years later this College was amalgamated with others to form the Imperial University of Japan, and be was continued in his appointment.

Previous to his death preparations had been made to celebrate, in an appropriate way, the twenty-fifth anniversary of his work in Japan by colleagues and past students. The celebration was postponed for various causes, and so never took place. In connection with his University work be produced a special experimental engine and torsion meter, and brought out treatises on the "Theory of the Compound Engine" and "Amsler's Integrator applied to some calculations in Naval Architecture."

He was keenly interested in yachting, and was to some extent a pioneer of the sport in the waters about Yokohama. Partly as an outcome of this interest, and partly to get his students to take a greater share in outdoor exercise, he inaugurated also a model yacht club.

He was the inventor of the parallel motion seismograph, which owed its origin to the Seismological Society founded by Professor John Milne in Japan to make a study of earthquake phenomena in that country. For his services to Japan the Emperor decorated him with the Fourth Order of the Rising Sun and the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure.

His death from pneumonia took place at Tokyo on 10th January 1908, in his sixty-first year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1882.

Obituary 1909 [2]

. . . served a three years apprenticeship with Laird Brothers . . . he went to Japan in 1882 as Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Imperial College of Engineering . . . [more]

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