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British Industrial History

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Cyril Francis Mackness

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Cyril Francis Mackness (1874-1933) of Mackness and Shipley


1934 Obituary.[1]

CYRIL FRANCIS MACKNESS was the son of the late Canon George Mackness, D.D., of Broughty Ferry, Angus. He was educated at the High School, Dundee, and although he left there to join the staff of the local branch of the Bank of Scotland, where he remained for several years, he had acquired such a taste for engineering in the school workshops that, in the face of much opposition, he apprenticed himself to the Sunderland Forge and Engineering Co., in 1898. Two years later he joined Messrs. Bruce Peebles and Co. in Edinburgh, and became superintendent of the testing department. During all this time, he continued his studies at the Durham College of Science, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and later at the Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh, until his health gave way. Even this was made use of, and a series of sea voyages followed, during which he served as electrician or in other capacities. These voyages took him to South Africa and the Argentine. In 1902, being fully restored to health, he became assistant to Messrs. Carruthers and Elliot, consulting engineers to the West Australian and New South Wales Governments, and was engaged on important inspection work in Germany and Switzerland. He subsequently joined the A E.G. of South Africa, and as that firm's assistant manager in 1904 he helped to develop for them a world export business. During the next 10 years, a period of great electrical development, he was entrusted with many important missions, visiting for his firm the United States, Mexico, and the whole of South Africa and Rhodesia. In 1914 he became assistant manager of the electrical department of Messrs. Vickers, and in 1919 he formed and became chief engineer of their hydro-electric department. Later he was placed in charge of the company's general engineering department. By this time he had become an engineer of the widest experience. His practical and inventive ability, his business training, his sound technical knowledge, his literary gifts, and his mature judgment, coupled with great charm and dignity of manner, and an unfailing sense of humour, well fitted him to act as a consultant, and this he became in 1923. His firm carried out many important works for clients from England, the Continent, the United States, and Canada. Among these were hydro-electric works in Nigeria and Colombia, important missions to Germany, Austria, and Italy, much mining and dredging electrification work in Nigeria and Malaya, and steam power-station work in South Africa and Australia. Mackness, who was in his 59th year, died after a brief illness on the 17th December, 1933. He leaves a widow and one son. He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1904 and a Member in 1921.

The procession of life is of great beauty, and none adorns it more than Mackness. He encountered great difficulties and met and overcame them cheerfully. A man of scrupulous honesty, he saw the good (sometimes the only good) in men of all estates of life, and there must be literally hundreds of engineers and others the world over who have received rich help, advice, and encouragement from him. None was forgotten and none will forget.



1934 Obituary.[2]

The Late Mr. C. F. Mackness. It is with regret that we record the recent death of Mr. Cyril Francis Mackness, M.I.E.E., Mem. Am. I.E.E., who was the senior partner of Mackness and Shipley, consulting engineers, of Westminster. He was educated at the High School, Dundee, and, although he left there to join the staff of the local branch of the Bank of Scotland, where he remained for several years, he had acquired such a taste for engineering in the school workshops that, in the face of much opposition, he apprenticed himself in 1898 to the Sunderland Forge and Engineering Company, Ltd. Two years later he joined Bruce Peebles and Co., Ltd., in Edinburgh, and became chief of test. During all this time he continued his studies at the Durham College of Science in Newcastle-on-Tyne, and later at the Heriot Watt College in Edinburgh. In 1902 he became assistant to Messrs. Carruthers and Elliot, consulting engineers to the West Australian and New South Wales Governments, and was engaged on important inspection work in Germany and Switzerland. He subsequently joined the A.E.G. of South Africa, Ltd., of London and Johannesburg, and as that firm's assistant manager in 1904, he helped to develop a great world export business. During the next ten years he was entrusted with many important missions, and visited for his firm the United States, Mexico, and the whole of South Africa and Rhodesia. In 1914 he became assistant manager of the electrical department of Vickers, Ltd., and in 1919 he formed and became the chief engineer of the hydro-electric department. Later he was chief of the company's general engineering department. In 1923 he began business as a consulting engineer, and his firm carried out many important works for clients in England, from the Continent, the United States, and Canada.


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