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British Industrial History

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John Grice Statter

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John Grice Statter (1862-1950), M.Inst.C.E., M.I.E.E. Chairman and Joint Managing Director of J. G. Statter and Co.

Son of William Statter, FRCS


1950 Obituary.[1]

John Grice Statter died on the 28th February, 1950, in his 88th year.

After receiving his early education at Sandringham, Southport, he continued his scientific and technical studies at the Yorkshire College (now the University) Leeds.

To obtain his practical experience he then enrolled as one of the early pupils of Col. Crompton at the Chelmsford works, the nursery of many first-class engineers. At the end of his three years' pupilage, while still a youth, he started manufacturing on his own account, and continued to do so throughout his life, either alone or in partnership. In these latter phases he was at various times associated with L. S. Brunton, E. Manville, W. L. Madgen and E. Cowan, but always on the basis of being a responsible principal.

Attractive and lucrative official positions in the electrical world did not abound in his young days, and he never sought them; he preferred personal independence. Like many of his contemporaries, during the rapid development of electricity, he showed much versatility in the products he designed and manufactured. Among these his name was identified over 60 years ago with a dynamo for constant-current arc lighting, but gradually he became a specialist in heavy switchgear, both high-voltage and low-voltage. In this field, for a period of more than 30 years prior to his death, he built up at Amersham a large business with a high technical reputation, first in partnership with Col. G. S. Marston, and later as Joint Managing Director with him in J. G. Statter and Co., Ltd.

When industrial organization is on a mammoth scale the functions of the economist's original "entrepreneur" are often eclipsed. The power to make vital decisions is then vested in the upper ranks of the technical and administrative staffs, but the capital structure is impersonal. Excellent as the results may be under these conditions they usually owe a heavy debt to some pioneering entrepreneur. Of these J. G. Statter was typical; he was the true owner-manager, confident in his ability to make good with the modest capital at his disposal, and he successfully filled the dual role of supervising the finance of production as well as its technique.

He was aware of the risks inseparable from small private enterprises, but he faced them with prudence and sagacity. Fortunately he was by temperament eminently adapted to treat with a sense of proportion the ups and downs of business, and of these he had a full share. He was a man punctiliously courteous and uniformly placid in manner, but his genial imperturbility did not conceal an underlying strong personality from his many friends and those who knew him closely.

Until his short fatal illness, his vitality and mental powers were unimpaired, and he never lost his keen interest in the affairs of the company he had founded; three years ago he made a lengthy business tour in South Africa. He married late in life and is survived by his widow.

He joined The Institution as a Member in 1898. He was also a Member of The Institution of Civil Engineers.


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