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Dempster Smith

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Professor Dempster Smith (1874-1953) of the College of Technology, Manchester

1874 Born at Perth

1911 Living at 34 Heathbank Road, Cheadle Hulme: Dempster Smith (age 37 born Perth, Perthshire), Engineer (Mechanical) Manchester Corporation. With his wife Margaret H. Smith (age 35 born Glasgow) and their son John Dempster Smith (age 3 born Cheadle Hulme).[1]

1926 Appointed to the Chair of Mechanical Engineering in the Manchester University and in the College of Technology.

1953 Died


1953 Obituary [2]

We have learned with deep regret of the death of Emeritus Professor Dempster Smith, which occurred at 6, Maule Terrace, Gullane, East Lothian, on Saturday last, March 21st.

Until his retirement during the war years, he bad been for a long period Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Manchester College of Technology. He will be particularly well remembered by his active participation in the affairs of the profession of mechanical engineering in the North-West.

Dempster Smith was born on February 6, 1874, and was educated at the English School, Perth, and at the Glasgow and West of Scotland College.

He served a five-year apprenticeship with Sharp Stewart and Co., Glasgow, and on its completion continued with that firm for three years, during the latter part of which he was chief draughtsman in the machine tool department.

Dempster Smith then spent three years on the design staff of Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co., Ltd., after which he went to Manchester to take up a post as chief designer with Hulse and Co., Ltd.

That appointment he relinquished In 1902 on becoming a lecturer in mechanical engineering and a demonstrator in the laboratories at the Manchester College of Technology. It was this appomtment that marked the beginning of Dempster Smith's long period of distinguished service - extending over forty years - to the College of Technology. There was only one break in Professor Smith's long career as a teacher of engineering. It occurred during the first world war, when for two years he served as works manager with Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day, Ltd., at Stockport.

Upon his retirement from the Manchester College of Technology, Dempster Smith received the title of Emeritus Professor. Professor Smith was elected an associate member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1907, and a full member in 1913. He did much to assist the work of the Institution and contributed several papers to its Proceedings. He served on the cutting tools research committee set up by the Institution in 1920, was for many years a member of council, and was also for some time the honorary secretary of the North-Western Branch. In recognition of these and many other services which he rendered to the Institution, the council elected him to honorary membership in 1941.

Professor Smith also took an active share in the work of the Manchester Association of Engineers, of which he was a past-president. His contributions to technical literature included books on Lathe Design and Engineers' Costs and Economical Workshop Production, and, in collaboration with Professor J. T. Nicholson, a lengthy series of articles on "The Rational Design of Machine Tools," which appeared in THE ENGINEER in 1912.


1954 Obituary [3]

Professor Dempster Smith, M.B.E., M.Sc.Tech., who was born in 1874, made distinguished contributions to the mechanical engineering profession, particularly on the educational side. In 1926 he was appointed Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University and College of Technology, Manchester, and upon retirement became Professor Emeritus. He rendered excellent service to the Institution for many years, especially in the interests of the North Western Branch, of which he was Honorary Secretary from 1918 to 1921, and Chairman from 1932-1933. From 1932 to 1949 he served as a Member of Council, and was for some time a member of the Cutting Tools Research Committee of the Institution.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1907, and transferred to Member in 1913, and in 1941 he was admitted to Honorary Membership. The honour of M.B.E. was conferred upon him in 1919. He read several papers before the Institution, and was the author of several technical books. The T. Bernard Hall Prize was awarded to him in 1924.

During the 1914-1918 war he acted as adviser, in an honorary capacity, to H.M.S. Vernon, Royal Naval Training Establishment, and in the 1939-45 war he was senior production officer, north western area, for the Air Ministry. He commenced his engineering career in 1890 as an apprentice with Sharp, Stewart and Company, Glasgow, and later was employed in varying capacities with several well-known engineering firms, including Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Company, Ltd., Manchester, and Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day, Ltd., holding the position of works manager with the latter firm, with a personnel of about seven hundred and fifty.

He first joined the staff of the School of Technology, Manchester, in 1902, and retired from his appointment as Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University and College of Technology, Manchester, in the 1940's.

Professor Dempster Smith's death occurred on 21st March, 1953.


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