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George Frederick Armstrong

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Professor George Frederick Armstrong (1842-1900)

Died 1900 aged 58.[1]


1900 Obituary [2]

Professor GEORGE FREDERICK ARMSTRONG was born in Doncaster on 15th May 1842.

His general education was received at King's College, London, and Jesus College, Cambridge; subsequently he returned to King's College, and attended the engineering classes.

His professional career was commenced in 1855 in the locomotive and rolling-stock works of the Great Northern Railway, and as pupil from 1863 to 1865 in the office of Mr. R. Johnson, engineer-in-chief of the company.

Afterwards he was a member of the engineering staff from 1865 to 1869, and was employed in the locomotive works and in the maintenance of the line.

He was next engaged in private practice in London, and in 1869 became the engineer for the promoters of the Isle of Man Railways.

In 1871 his work as a public teacher was inaugurated by his election as first professor of engineering in the Applied Science School of McGill University, Montreal, in which position he remained until 1876, when he returned to England to take up the duties of the engineering chair at the Yorkshire College of Science, Leeds.

In 1885 he was appointed by the Crown to succeed Professor Fleeming Jenkin, as Regius Professor of Engineering in the University of Edinburgh. In that capacity he delivered, as an inaugural address, a lecture in which technical education was very prominently dealt with. During his term of office he obtained for his pupils an engineering laboratory. He gave special attention to sanitary work, and to questions regarding water supply; and in this connection he was appointed engineering adviser, under the Public Health Act, to the Local Government Board for Scotland.

He was closely associated with the work of promoting and organising the two Edinburgh International Exhibitions in 1885 and 1890, in the latter of which he was convener of the Engineering and Machinery Committee, and vice-chairman of the Executive Council.

He was president of the Sanitary Engineering Section of the British Institute of Public Health in, 1893; and in connection with the last meeting in Edinburgh of the British Association he acted as secretary, and was chairman of the Executive Committee of the Edinburgh Meeting of this Institution in 1887. In the following year he acted as local secretary at a similar meeting of the Iron and Steel Institute.

During 1879 he undertook an elaborate series of observations and experiments with a view to determining the diurnal variations in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, the results of which were communicated to the Royal Society of London, and have since been accepted as a standard of reference.

In 1889 he was made a Fellow of King's College, London. He was an examiner for science degrees in the departments of engineering, public health, and agriculture in the University of Edinburgh, and was a member of several institutions and societies, including the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

After an illness of several months from an affection of the heart, his death took place at his residence at Grasmere, Westmoreland, on 16th November 1900, in his fifty-ninth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1882.


1900 Obituary [3]

...of the Chair of Engineering in Edinburgh University.

He died at his home in Grasmere, Westmoreland, on the morning of the 16th inst. He had had a serious illness a few years ago, and during the last three months having suffered much from his heart, leave of absence had been accorded him until Christmas. Professor Armstrong was born at Doncaster in 1842, and received his general education at Jesus College, Cambridge. Having developed a strong taste for mechanical pursuits, he was educated professionally in the Engineering Department of King's College, London; in the locomotive and rolling-stock works of the Great Northern Railway; and in the office of the engineer-in-chief of that company, Mr. R. Johnson, M. lnst. C.E., on whose staff he was subsequently...[More].


1901 Obituary [4]

. . . In 1885 Professor Armstrong was appointed successor of the late Professor Fleeming Jenkin in the Chair of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh . . . [more]


1900 Obituary [5]

GEORGE FREDERICK ARMSTRONG, Professor of Engineering in the University of Edinburgh, died at his home in Grasmere, Westmorland, on November 16, 1900.

Born at Doncaster in 1842, he was a student of Jesus College, Cambridge. As he had early shown a fondness for mechanical pursuits, he subsequently was educated professionally in the engineering department of King's College, London, in the plant and locomotive shops of the Great Northern Railway, and in the office of the engineer-in-chief of that Company. Of the Great Northern Railway engineering staff he was a member for several years, and was employed in superintending many important works, and in the maintenance of the line.

Thence he went into private practice in London. In 1869 he became engineer to the promoters of the Isle of Man railways; and in 1871 he took up the teaching art, when he was elected first Professor of Engineering in the new Applied Science School at the McGill University, Montreal.

Five years later he re-crossed the Atlantic to take up similar work in the Yorkshire College of Science, Leeds; and in 1885 was appointed by the Crown to succeed the late Professor Fleeming Jenkin as Regius Professor of Engineering in the University of Edinburgh. In his inaugural address at that time he dealt with the question of the spread of technical education at home—a subject in which he never ceased to take the deepest interest. During his term of office, the engineering department of the University was greatly improved and advanced, and the laboratory in connection with it fitted up under his supervision by the aid of the funds of the Fulton bequest.

He was a man of great business capacity and administrative ability, and his teaching in his own special department was of a thoroughly practical nature. He gave particular attention to sanitary work and to questions regarding water supply, and in this connection it may be mentioned that he was engineering adviser under the Public Health Act to the Local Government Board for Scotland. He took an active share in the work of the two Edinburgh International Exhibitions, 1885 and 1890, in the latter of which he was convener of the Engineering and Machinery Committee and vice chairman of the Executive Council. He was president of the Sanitary Engineering Section of the British Institute of Public Health in Edinburgh in 1893, and delivered an address; and in connection with the last meeting in Edinburgh of the British Association he acted as local secretary.

During the summer and autumn of 1879 he undertook an extensive series of observations and experiments with a view of determining the diurnal variation in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, the results of which were communicated in a paper to the Royal Society, and have since been accepted as a standard of reference on the Continent as well as in this country. In 1889 the Council of King's College, London, elected Professor Armstrong to the Fellowship of the College. He was an examiner for science degrees in the Departments of Engineering, Public Health, and Agriculture in the University of Edinburgh, hon. president of the East of Scotland Engineering Association, a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1889, and acted as local Honorary Secretary in connection with the Institute's meeting in Edinburgh in 1888.


1900 Obituary.[6]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1900/11/23, p521.
  2. 1900 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  3. The Engineer 1900/11/23, p523.
  4. 1901 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  5. 1900 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries
  6. Engineering 1900 Jul-Dec: Index: General Index