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British Industrial History

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Henry Lee Corlett

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Henry Lee Corlett (1826-1883)

1865 Henry Lee Corlett, Carriage Department, Great Southern and Western Railway, Dublin.[1]


1883 Obituary [2]

HENRY LEE CORLETT, son of Mr. Henry Corlett, was born in Dublin on the 27th of June, 1826. Here he was educated, and was subsequently articled to John Hutton and Sons, who were at that the (1845) engaged in the manufacture of railway rolling-stock. Mr. Corlett had already shown great ability in mechanical construction, and as a draughtsman remarkable capacity, and took steps to prepare for entrance to the engineering school of Trinity College.

He now sought and obtained the appointment of Superintendent, of railway-carriage rolling stock on the Great Northern (Ireland) line at Drogheda.

About 1850 Mr. Corlett was transferred to the Inchicore works of the Great Southern and Western Railway, where he remained till 1877. Mr. Corlett introduced many improvements in railway-machinery and appliances.

In 1854 he took out a patent for springs for rolling-stock; in 1859 for improvements in permanent way ; in 1862 for tuyeres ; in 1867 for buffers ; and in 1871 for hydraulic lifts for carriages.

In 1877 he patented his buffing springs and cases. Mr. Corlett had also constructed a model for a railway post-office, from which the mail-bags could be mechanically discharged or received while the train continued in full motion.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 6th of March, 1860. On leaving Inchicore Mr. Corlett settled in London, and having previously taken much interest in the tramway system in Dublin, where he had been director on the northern tram line, he turned his attention to the tram system in the metropolis, and became Chairman of the Southwark and Deptford, and the Woolwich Tram Companies.

In 1880 his health began to fail, and he died on the 19th of April, 1883.



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