Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Harry Rolfe

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Harry Rolfe (1862-1936)

1936 Obituary [1]

HARRY ROLFE was editor-in-chief of the textbook department of International Correspondence Schools, Ltd., Kingsway, London, for twenty-eight years. He was responsible for about 160 textbooks and over 900 instruction pamphlets issued under his supervision, covering a very wide range of technical and commercial subjects.

He was born at Hardingstone, near Northampton, in 1862, and received his technical education at Brighton Science and Art School.

In 1877 he entered the works of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway as an apprentice under Mr. W. Stroudley, M.I.Mech.E., and served until 1882. After a further two years in the Brighton workshops he went to Brazil and joined the Sao Paulo Railway, but returned to England in 1886.

He was employed for a year at the Willesden running sheds of the London and North Western Railway; in 1888, however, he rejoined his former company at Brighton, where he later became a draughtsman.

In 1895 he left for the United States and held the position of designer and draughtsman with various firms. He designed the first compressed-air locomotive for use in mines whilst with the Dickson Locomotive Works at Scranton, Pa., where in 1897 he commenced his long association with International Correspondence Schools, by writing textbooks and carrying out tutorial work.

From 1901 until 1908 he was a member of the staff of the Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Company, first taking charge of calculations in the mechanical engineering department at their Pittsburg works, where he was associated with George Westinghouse in the design of air brakes, and later occupying the position of mechanical engineer at the Trafford Park works of the British branch of the firm.

Mr. Rolfe was elected a Member of the Institution in 1906.

His death occurred on 25th April 1936.

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