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British Industrial History

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Henry Charles Cowdell

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Henry Charles Cowdell (1860-1919) of the Cradley Boiler Co

1919 Obituary [1]

HENRY CHARLES COWDELL was born in London on 11th April 1860.

He served his apprenticeship with Messrs. John Stewart and Sons, Blackwall Ironworks, completing it in 1881, and during this period he attended evening technical classes at the City of London College.

He then went to sea as a sea-going engineer, and served on vessels of the City and Castle Lines. Shortly after obtaining a Chief Engineer's Certificate he was appointed resident engineer of Batu Kawan Sugar Estate, near Penang, succeeding his late father in that position.

He remained there until 1895, extending his practice as consultant to the owners of other sugar estates in the neighbourhood; he was also superintendent of a line of steamers running between Province Wellesley and Penang. While at Batu Kawan he greatly extended and improved the crushing machinery and sugar refining plant, installed electricity generating plant, etc., and constructed lighters up to 100 tons capacity, of native timber. He also planned and superintended the construction of three large reservoirs to provide a water supply for the district.

On returning to England in 1896 he purchased the Cradley Boiler Works, then of small dimensions. These works he improved and equipped with up-to-date machinery, so that the Cradley Boiler acquired the highest reputation.

His death took place at his residence at Hagley, Worcestershire, on 31st March 1919, in his fifty-ninth year.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1896.

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