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British Industrial History

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Edward Tregaskiss Elbourne

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Edward Tregaskiss Elbourne (1875-1935)

1927 E. T. Elbourne of 8, Great St. Helens, Bishopsgate, London, E.C.3. established a Marketing Intelligence Index Service for the benefit of British manufacturers and traders.[1]


1935 Obituary [2]

EDWARD TREGASKISS ELBOURNE, M.B.E., made a special study of industrial administration, during a period extending over thirty-four years, and wrote several authoritative works on the subject.

He was born at Fordingbridge, Hants, in 1875 and received his general and technical education in Birmingham.

In 1892 he entered the works of Messrs. G. E. Belliss (now Messrs. Belliss and Morcom, Ltd.), where he served an apprenticeship for three years. He completed his training at Barrow in Furness, in the workshops and drawing office of the Naval Construction and Armaments Company, Ltd., which was later amalgamated with Messrs. Vickers, Ltd.

In 1896 he returned to Birmingham as a draughtsman with Messrs. Charles Taylor, and four years later he joined Messrs. Charles Winn in a similar capacity; he also took charge of the screwing machine department.

As a result of a visit to the United States in 1900, to study machine tools and factory organization, he turned his attention to the problems of industrial administration, with which he was occupied for the remainder of his life.

On his return to England he joined Messrs. John I. Thornycroft and Company, Ltd., as works organizer and works accountant, and in 1908 he took up a similar appointment with Messrs. Vickers, Sons and Maxim, Ltd.

Two years later he became assistant to the general manager and also works manager to the Birmingham Small Arms Company, Ltd., and about this time he commenced writing his first book, "Factory Administration and Accounts," which was published in 1914.

He was appointed works organizer and secretary to the Bowden Wire Company in 1912, but three years later he was made assistant general manager of the Ponder's End shell works under Sir Henry Brindley, M.I.Mech.E., and was awarded the M.B.E. for his services in connexion with the manufacture of munitions.

In 1919 he and Sir Henry Brindley went into partnership as consulting engineers in Westminster; on Sir Henry's death in 1920, Mr. Elbourne carried on the business alone. He acted as adviser on factory organization to several large firms, and in 1920 he founded the Institute of Industrial Administration, of which he was an honorary director.

In the following year he published his second book, "Factory Administration and Cost Accounts."

He again visited the United States in 1926, and made a special study of marketing problems, on which he wrote a book on his return. He then developed the principle of "buying-power indicators" in connexion with his work as an industrial consultant.

Latterly he turned his attention to educational problems in the economics of engineering, and was appointed a lecturer at the London School of Economics. In addition, he was a member of the board of examiners for the degree in commerce at the University of London. When the Council of the Institution were engaged on the revision of the syllabus for Section C of the Associate Membership examination, Mr. Elbourne gave much valuable assistance and advice. He also directed the course for executives inaugurated at Loughborough College in 1934. In the same year he published "Fundamentals of Industrial Administration."

One of his last works was the writing of a series of articles on "Workshop Organization and Management" which he hoped to amplify and publish in book form.

His death, however, on 18th October 1935, at Finchley, occurred before the realization of many of the fruits of his labours.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1919.


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