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British Industrial History

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Frank Brotherton Woolford

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Frank Bretherton Woolford ( -1938)

1938 Obituary [1]

FRANK BRETHERTON WOOLFORD, who died on 15th April 1938, served his apprenticeship from 1877 to 1884 with the Great Eastern Railway, Stratford, and after going to sea as a ship's engineer to gain further experience, returned to the Great Eastern Railway as leading millwright in 1892. Three years later he joined Messrs. Grover and Company, Ltd., whose works were then situated at Wharf Road, City Road, Islington. During the forty-two years with which he was connected with this firm he was successively works manager, chief engineer, technical director, and finally chairman and managing director, which position he held on his retirement in May 1937.

His work was chiefly concerned with problems relating to the perforation of postage and other stamps, and he was recognized as an authority at home and abroad in this connecion. He was responsible for the development and for many technical improvements in perforating machines in this country and elsewhere for over twenty-five years, and several patents were taken out by him in the course of their development. He was also concerned with the production of all types of embossing machines, as used by the Inland Revenue Office both at Somerset House and in all revenue offices in Great Britain and the Colonies. Mr. Woolford's firm being the originators 60 years ago of the Grover lock washer, it was fitting that he served on the committee set up by the British Standards Institution to establish the standardization of spring washers, on which he rendered valuable advice. Under his supervision the firm established new works at Stratford, and the output of spring washers was more than trebled.

In the early days of the internal combustion engine, Mr. Woolford designed new types which were manufactured by Messrs. Grover during 1896-1900, and he held a patent for a special type of vaporizer which he had developed.

He had been a Member of the Institution since 1921.

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