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Daniel Miller

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1861.

Daniel Miller (1826-1888) of Bell and Miller.



1889 Obituary [1]

DANIEL MILLER was born in January, 1826, in Glasgow, where his father carried on the business of a brass-founder and coppersmith at the Saracen Foundry.

Mr. Miller received his professional education in Glasgow, and he and Mr. R. Bruce Bell, a companion in one of the offices in which he worked, commenced business in 1850. Success soon attended the efforts of the two friends, who were well trained by their tutors, amongst whom was Mr. Lewis Gordon, the original occupant of the chair of civil engineering in Glasgow University.

Early in his career the subject of this notice applied himself to the study of hydraulics, and in 1849 patented a hydraulic purchase machinery extensively used in docks and slips at home and abroad. Indeed, his first work of any note was the making of a slip at Kelvinhaugh. At this time there was no graving dock in Glasgow, the nearest being at Dumbarton, 15 miles distant, and Messrs. Tod and Macgregor, the eminent engine-builders and shipbuilders, got Messrs. Miller and Bell to construct a dock at their yard at Meadowside, Partick. It is 500 feet long, 56 feet broad at the entrance, and 18 feet deep on the sill at high-water spring-tides. It is still extant, and the yard is now occupied by Messrs. D. and W. Henderson and Co. In the same establishment they made a slip of 850 feet length for vessels of 2,000 tons register. Similar slips were made in various parts of the world - at Williamson (Melbourne), Cronstadt, Riga, and Alexandria. These undertakings, however, were but the preliminaries which led to more important works.

The members of the firm were the engineers for the Albert Harbour, at Greenock, where Mr. Miller introduced the new system of constructing sea-walls and quays in deep water without the aid of cofferdams. Prior to this there were three open tidal docks or harbours in Greenock, and the new dock was situated in the west end. It projected almost entirely beyond the high-water line, so that valuable ground might not be used. The work was done by forming the walls under low-water of a combination of cast-iron guide piles, H section, with a continuous stone facing slid down over and inclosing these, a backing of concrete being deposited in a soft state. The entire mass, piles and stone facing, concrete backing and hearting, is allowed to consolidate, after which the heads of the iron piles and the granite facing-blocks are capped at the level of low-water by a granite blocking or string course, and the upper portion of the walls is carried up in freestone, ashlar, and rubble. A description of this work was presented to the Institution by Mr. Miller, and is printed in the Minutes of Proceedings, vol. xxii. p. 417.

The firm also built Prince’s Pier west of the Albert Dock, intended for the accommodation of the river steamers. Extensive harbour works were carried out at Port Glasgow by the firm. In the city of Glasgow Mr. Miller designed and superintended many engineering undertakings, the principal of which were the Albert Bridge and a graving dock. The dock is 560 feet long on the floor, 72 feet broad at the entrance, with 222 feet and 202 feet depths of water at spring and neap-tides respectively. The machinery, &C., was so arranged and situated that it could be utilized in pumping the water out of any new dock constructed alongside. Since that time a second dock has been made. It is 25 feet longer. Mr. Miller had been in failing health for a considerable time before his death, but it was only a short time previously that he was entirely prevented from attending to business.

He died on the 28th of September, 1888. He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 5th of April, 1864.



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