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British Industrial History

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Francis Edwin Brown

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Francis Edwin Brown (c1874-1941) of David Brown and Sons

c1874 Born the son of David Brown

1881 Living at South Street, Huddersfield: David Brown (age 39 born Halifax), Model Maker employing 3 Men and 4 Boys. With his wife Mary Jane Brown (age 40 born Shepley) and their three sons; Ernest Matthew Brown (age 10 born Huddersfield); Francis Edwin Brown (age 7 born Huddersfield); and Percy Brown (age 3 born Huddersfield). One servant.[1]

1891 Living at 72 South Street, Huddersfield: David Brown (age 49 born Halifax), Engineer's Pattern Maker and an Employer. With his wife Mary Jane Brown (age 49 born Shepley) and their three children: Ernest M. Brown (age 20 born Huddersfield); Francis E. Brown (age 17 born Huddersfield), Engineer's Pattern Maker; and Percy Brown (age 13 born Huddersfield), Engineer's Pattern Maker. One servant.[2]

1901 Living at 72 South Street, Huddersfield: David Brown (age 58 born Halifax), Retired Pattern Maker. with his wife Mary J. Brown (age 59 born Shepley) and their three sons; Ernest W. Brown (age 29 born Huddersfield), Pattern Maker and Gear Cutter and Employer; Frank E. Brown (age 24 born Huddersfield), Pattern Maker and Gear Cutter and Employer; and Percy Brown (age 23 born Huddersfield), Pattern Maker and Gear Cutter and Employer. One servant.[3]

Married Caroline Brook

1904 Birth of son David Brown (1904-1993)

1912 Chairman of David Brown and Sons

1941 Died


1941 Obituary [4]

"IT is with great regret that we have to record the death at his home at Somerfield, Holmfirtb, near Huddersfield, of Mr. Francis Edwin Brown, chairman of David Brown and Sons (Huddersfield), Ltd., and it associated companies. Mr. Brown was sixty-seven years of age. He joined the company, which was founded by his father in 1860, a an apprentice in January, 1889, and the business of David Brown and Sons in it present form was originated by him.

He was a pioneer in the development of machine-cut gearing, which was a logical outcome of the first machine the company used for cutting teeth in the wooden gear patterns in which it at that time specialised. The next step was the adoption of the same machinery for cutting the teeth in mortice gears, in which hornbeam teeth were wedged into cast iron bodies and the teeth afterwards machine cut.

Mr. Brown's earlier experience covered the period when tooth shape were determined on the drawing board and methods of generation were unknown. Experiments were at first based on cycloidal formations, and various rolling circles were used for different trains. A number of odontographic methods of tooth shape determination were employed and many special forms, such as " G " teeth, were tried, but it was in no small measure due to the efforts of Mr. Brown and his colleagues that standardisation was achieved. He early realised the possibility of cutting teeth in metal patterns, and then in the actual running gears. This development led to the acquisition of the site of the present Huddersfield works (Park Works) in 1900. In 1903 he prepared the first general gear catalogue issued by the company, which came to be regarded almost as a text-book on the subject.

The wide use now made of worm gearing is, in no small measure, due to Mr. Brown's initiative.In his early days such gearing was regarded as a means of obtaining a right-angle drive of high ratio, but of low efficiency, that was only used as a last resort. Experiments in the use of the correct materials and the parallel development of special machinery gave such successful results that Mr. Brown was able to establish worm gearing for the rear-axle drive of the London buses. Since then worm gearing ha been accepted for all types of industrial and transport transmissions. Much research work was also done under his inspiration on helical gears and the plant for producing them, with the result that the firm was able to offer efficient ships' main propulsion gearing simultaneously with the adoption of steam turbines for marine work..." Read More


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1881 Census
  2. 1891 Census
  3. 1901 Census
  4. The Engineer 1941 Jan-Jun: Index