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British Industrial History

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James Thomas Jepson

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James Thomas Jepson (1867-1908)

1901 Offered Associate membership of the Inst of Mechanical Engineers but he declined and his proposer wrote to the Council pointing out the responsibility that Jepson had had for rebuilding the works of Leeds Forge Co, as well as designing the pressed steel underframes for railway rolling stock which had since been adopted by 34 railway companies, asked the Council to reconsider as a result of which he was made a Member of the Institution[1]



1908 Obituary [2]

JAMES THOMAS JEPSON was born in Manchester on 22nd December 1867.

He received his scholastic education from 1878 to 1883 at the Royal Masonic Institution at Wood Green, London, and his technical education from 1884 to 1890 at Manchester and Stockport Technical Colleges, obtaining first class honours in the City and Guilds of London Institute, and other honours in mechanical construction and drawing, applied mechanics, steam and steam- engines, theoretical mechanics and mathematics.

In 1885 he commenced an apprenticeship with the Victoria Engineering Co., of Stockport, and two years later was transferred to Messrs. E. T. Bellhouse and Co., hydraulic and general engineers, of Manchester, where he completed his articles.

He was then engaged as draughtsman by the latter firm, upon hydraulic and general work, until 1890, when he joined the Ashbury Railway Carriage and Wagon Co., of Openshaw, Manchester, as draughtsman in charge of the bridge, roof and general work, and whilst there he carried out a number of important contracts, including bridges over the Rivers Lune, Ribble and Irwell, for the Manchester Corporation aqueduct.

In 1895 he resigned his position to take up the post of chief draughtsman with the Leeds Forge Co., where he rendered very valuable assistance in standardising many of the firm's specialities, and introduced improved methods of manufacture.

He also invented a self-discharging bogie coal-wagon, large numbers of which are ill use on Central South African, Indian, and English Railways.

In 1904 he became engineer to the A.B.C. Coupler, Limited, London, where he invented the well-known automatic railway coupler known as the " A.B.C." Coupler, Jepson's Patent.

He was distinguished by exceptional mental activity and combined high inventive power with a very practical judgment and business ability.

His death took place in the Sudan on 17th June 1908, at the age of forty.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1902.


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