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British Industrial History

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Eli Spencer

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Eli Spencer (1823-1887)

1866 Eli Spencer, Platt Brothers and Co, Hartford iron Works, Oldham[1]

1887 September 5th. Died.[2]

1887 Obituary [3]

ELI SPENCER, son of Edmund Spencer, was born at Ashton-under-Lyne on 23rd October 1823.

After receiving his education at Mr. Sunderland's school, be entered in 1837 the workshops of Mr. John Stanley, Jun., Dukinfield, where he passed through the preliminary stages of turning, fitting, &c.

Two years later he was articled to serve the remainder of a seven years' apprenticeship with Messrs. Hibbert, Platt and Sons, Hartford Works, Oldham, and was placed under the supervision of Mr. William Richardson, at that time a leading workman of the firm. During this period he was fitting and setting up machinery in the works and in the mills of the immediate neighbourhood, and studying mechanical drawing after working hours.

In 1845-6 he was associated with Mr. Richardson in the first drawing office started by Messrs. Hibbert, Platt and Sons, where he remained until the Hartford New Works were built, when he was sent there to take charge of the drawing office and to assist in the management generally.

In 1848 he was engaged in erecting machinery in a mill at Magdeburg; and in 1851 was appointed to represent the firm of Messrs. Platt Brothers and to superintend their exhibit at the International Exhibition in London.

In 1858, after the death of Mr. James Platt, he became general assistant to Mr. John Platt; and in 1855 was given an interest in the business, becoming a partner in 1864, and a managing director in 1868, which position he filled until his retirement through ill-health in 1880.

He shortly afterwards went to reside at Fulshaw Park, Wilmslow, where his death took place after a short illness on 5th September 1887, in the sixty-fourth year of his age.

In 1863 and 1864 he was associated with Mr. John Platt and Mr. John Dodd in improvements in mules for spinning cotton, wool, &c. In connection with most of the international exhibitions he took a leading part; and in association with Mr. John Platt and Mr. John Robinson assisted Mr. Cobden in his enquiry respecting the treaty of commerce with France, for which service he afterwards received on 23rd January 1860 a diploma and medal from the late Emperor of the French. His thorough technical experience of machine making was combined with a knowledge of the economical questions bearing upon cotton spinning, and with excellent commercial abilities.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1866, and in 1880 be contributed a paper on recent improvements in the machinery for preparing and spinning cotton (Proceedings, page 492), having previously aided in the preparation of Mr. John Platt's paper on the same subject in 1866 (Proceedings, page 199).

1887 Obituary [4]

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