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British Industrial History

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John Henry Adams (1857-1949)

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John Henry Adams was a mining engineer and executive in the USA.

Born 25 July 1857 in Birmingham, England; died 10 February 1949.

Adams' family had long been involved in iron mining in the ore mining areas of Birmingham, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. His father, John, Sr, managed the Hallfield Iron Works in Bilston. Young John attended Dudley Grammar School in Birmingham and the Mechanical Institute of Staffordshire. He emigrated to Pennsylvania, and later moved to Chattanooga.

1879 Adams worked as superintendent of the Roane Iron Works. There, chemist William Caldwell was analyzing ore from the Birmingham District.

1880 Married Annie Williams, and moved to Birmingham, Alabama, at the same time as William Caldwell. Caldwell was became president of the newly-established Birmingham Rolling Mill Company. Adams assisted A. J. Mothan in the design and construction of the mill, then left to manage ore mines at Ruffner, Irondale and Sloss for the Sloss Furnace Company.

1886 Adams returned to Chattanooga to manage the Tredegar Rolling Mills. He soon returned to Alabama as head of the Bessemer Rolling Mills and took on the added responsibility of overseeing the Alice Mines, Wade's Gap Mines, Redding Mines, and other operations for the Morris Mining Company.

Shortly before the Republic Iron & Steel Company took over the Pioneer Mining & Manufacturing Company, Adams was brought in to manage its mines and mills until his retirement in 1906. He also acted as agent for Pennsylvania investor Robert Sayre in establishing mines around the community which became known as Sayreton. Adams served as vice president and manager until 1910, when he left to pursue a career as an independent consulting engineer.

Adams travelled throughout the South and in Britain and Europe for his consulting business. During WWI he assisted in the establishment of the Birmingham-Trussville Iron Company which constructed a blast furnace in Trussville.

1922 Adams was elected president of the O'Neals Lime Works at Eureka.

The above information is condensed from the BHAMWIKI entry for John Henry Adams.

Additional/alternative information from another source[1]:-

Born in July 1856. His father was manager of the Hallfield Iron Works in Bilston. At 14 he went to work in the drawing office and mills of Caponfield at Priestfield. After a few months there, in 1870, he was recruited to go to the USA, in company with skilled iron workers, by General John T. Wilder of the US Army. Wilder had bought the remains of John Fritz's rolling mill in Chattanooga, destroyed in the Civil War. Henry's wife was the daughter of George Williams, once connected with Neath Abbey Iron Co.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'The Story of Coal and Iron in Alabama' by Ethel Armes, 1910