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Herbert Woodville Miller

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Herbert Woodville Miller ( -1923) of Crompton and Co and the Kensington Court Generating Station

1923 Obituary [1]

HERBERT WOODVILLE MILLER received his technical training at King's College, London, and later went to Cromptons as a pupil at a time when electrical distribution was in its infancy. He showed so much originality and talent that, towards the end of his pupilage, he was employed in Colonel Crompton's laboratory as his personal assistant, being responsible for much of the early experimental work on the Plante accumulators which were then being adopted to store electric energy for small installations, and for lighting private houses in town and country.

When Crompton started the first house-to-house electric supply from Kensington Court in 1886, he put Mr. Miller in charge of it, the first supply station, and he became successively assistant engineer, engineer-in-chief and managing director of the Kensington Company. He served the company throughout the whole of his career, a period of 36 years, up to the time of his death. It was due to his uninterrupted, true and faithful service, and to his intelligent use of his plant, that his company rose to a position of steady prosperity. When the demand on interurban supply stations became so great that the supply had to be supplemented from external generating stations, where the supply is generated and thence transmitted at high pressure to the original interurban stations which then become mere distributing centres, Mr. Miller worked out his system independently, and the generating station designed by him in 1900 situated at Wood Lane, which supplied his own and another company, has throughout been a model of what such stations should be, combining economical use of capital with high efficiency of production.

During recent years, his work has shown extremely economical results and given great satisfaction to users. He obtained his results by judgment in the selection of his assistants, and by succeeding in securing the goodwill of those under him. He paid close attention to a subject which at first had been too little considered, i.e. the improvement of the methods of generating steam by the hand-firing of boilers, by substituting the self-acting under-grate stokers known by his name. So closely was his name connected with the direct-current supply coupled with accumulators that he became a leading authority on this system and was much consulted. His death leaves vacant a place that will not be readily filled.

During the long and painful illness which preceded his death on the 4th December, 1922, he never lost touch with his duties, and only those who were co-workers with him, of whom the writer was one, are in a position to appreciate his heroism and devotion to duty almost up to the day of his death.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1890, and a Member in 1899, and was a Member of Council from 1896 to 1898.

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