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James Platt

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James Platt (1834-1897) founding partner of Fielding and Platt

Related to the Platt family of Mather and Platt

1897 Obituary [1]

JAMES PLATT was born in Manchester on 4th February 1834.

In 1847 he entered the drawing office of Messrs. Francis Berry and Sons, Sowerby Bridge, for whom his father, Mr. John Platt, was manager. Having served his time in the shops, he was made foreman at the age of twenty.

In 1859 be went to Gloucester to act as manager for Messrs. Savory and Son, for whom he designed some of their first agricultural engines, in which the winding drums encircled the boiler shell.

In 1862 he started as a consulting engineer, and fitted out several mills in the Gloucester district with machinery of his own design; and also designed and superintended the erection of the first iron-cased blast-furnaces, which utilized the waste gases, in the Forest of Dean.

In 1866 he joined Mr. Samuel Fielding in founding the firm of Fielding and Platt, Atlas Works, Gloucester.

Having been asked by Mr. Ralph H. Tweddell in 1871 to undertake the sole manufacture of his hydraulic riveting machines, the firm made in 1873 the first hydraulic portable riveting machinery for the Primrose Street Railway Bridge of the Great Eastern Railway at Bishopsgate Street Station, London, which proved a great success.

He was intimately associated with Mr. Tweddell in the development of the system of hydraulic machine-tools.

In 1874, on the death of Mr. Fielding, who was succeeded by his two sons, he became senior partner.

When visiting the United States in 1883 he read a paper on hydraulic machine-tools at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.

In 1890 he made a second visit on the occasion of the Iron and Steel Institute meeting. Whilst in Spain completing some wire tramway work during the Carlist rebellion he had several narrow escapes, and could only get away in a small steamer, which was under fire while running down the river, her funnel being riddled with bullets.

On the conversion of the firm into a private company in 1895, he became chairman of the directors.

After the death of Mr. Tweddell in 1895 the company took over all the rights connected with his hydraulic machinery.

In municipal affairs he took a great interest, and became councillor, alderman, justice of the peace, and Mayor of Gloucester. He was deputy chairman of the Gloucester Wagon Co., a director of the gas works, a governor of the Gloucester Infirmary, a charity trustee, first president of the Gloucestershire Engineering Society, and a president of the Chamber of Commerce.

While on a third visit to the United States in 1894 an internal complication began to develop itself, which ultimately caused his death at his residence in Gloucester on 29th December 1897, in his sixty-fourth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1871, and was a regular attendant at the meetings, frequently taking part in the discussions; and he was a Member of Council from 1893. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and of the Iron and Steel Institute.

1898 Obituary [2]

Obituary 1897 [3]

"...death of Mr. James Platt, J.P., which occurred at his residence, Somerset House, Gloucester, on Wednesday. Mr. Platt, who was sixty-four years of age, was senior partner in the well-known engineering firm of Fielding and Platt, Limited, High Orchard, Gloucester, and was also deputy chairman of the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company. The deceased gentleman came to Gloucester from Yorkshire about forty years..."More.

1898 Obituary [4]

JAMES PLATT died at Gloucester on December 29, 1897, at the age of sixty-three.

He was born at Manchester on February 4, 1834, and was educated and served his apprenticeship at Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire, where his father, Mr. John Platt, was the engineer and manager for the then celebrated tool-builders Messrs. Francis Berry and Sons.

When about twenty-four years of age he left their works and became manager of a general engineering works in Gloucester, and about this time designed and built several blast-furnace plants, some of the first in England to be equipped with modern hot-blast stoves. He also put in a number of large pumping plants in the Forest of Dean.

In 1866 he founded the firm of Fielding & Platt, of which he was the head at the time of his death. In 1873, with Mr. R. H. Tweddell, he took out the first patent for a hydraulic riveting machine. This was followed by many more, and since that date he has been closely identified with the development of hydraulic machine tools. It was he who saw the need of making riveting and Ranging machines of heavy power to enable boilers to be built to stand the heavy pressure then coming into use. It was this foresight which enabled his firm to equip three-fourths of the marine and locomotive shops in England and on the Continent with their hydraulic systems. His most important plant in America is that of the hydraulic tools at the Juniata shop of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Altoona, Pennsylvania.

The last large piece of work he conceived and designed was the building of the gigantic gantry, superstructure, and riveting plant for Messrs. Harland & Wolff of Belfast, used for the building of the large White Star Line steamship Oceanic. With this plant practically every rivet in the ship will be put in by hydraulic power.

Mr. Platt was a member of Council of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1882.

1897 Obituary[5][6]

"DEATH OF MR. JAMES PLATT, OF GLOUCESTER. - We much regret to record the death of Sir. James Platt, J.P., which occurred at his residence, Somerset House, Gloucester, on Wednesday last. Mr. Platt, who was 64 years of age, was senior partner in the well-known engineering firm of Fielding and Platt, Limited, High Orchard, Gloucester, and was also deputy chairman of the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company. Although Mr. Platt had been in a very precarious state of health for some time past, it was hoped that he was gaining strength, and his death will come as a shock to many friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Platt came to Gloucester from Yorkshire about 40 years ago, and was manager to the late firm of Savory and Son (now Summers and Scott), Gloucester. In 1886 he joined the late Mr. Samuel Fielding in partnership at the Atlas Iron Works, and this partnership continued until 1874, when Mr. Fielding died. Since that time the business has been carried on by Sir. Platt, with Messrs. James and John Fielding. About two years ago the business was converted into a private limited company, the shares being held by the families of the three partners, who became directors.

Mr. Platt was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and he had been for some years a member of Council of the latter body. He was well-known in his profession as a sound mechanic, and the development of modern hydraulic tools owes much to his abilities. Mr. Platt was a Justice of the Peace for the city, and had been a Councillor and Alderman on the City Council for a number of years. He was Mayor of Gloucester in 1891. He had also been President of the Local Chamber of Commerce and the Gloucestershire Engineering Society, was a Director of the Gas Company, a Governor of the Infirmary and a Charity Trustee. It was only on Tuesday last that his appointment as a Governor of the Gloucestershire Endowed Schools was reported to the City Council. In religion deceased was a staunch Nonconformist, and in politics was prominently identified with the Liberal Party, and he had held the office of President of the Gloucester Liberal Association. Mr. Platt leaves a widow, a daughter, and five sons, the two younger being in business in Gloucester."

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