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John Jameson (1830-1904)

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John Jameson (1830-1904) of John Jameson and Co

of Jameson and Schaeffer, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

1861 A mechanical engineer employing 3 men and 2 boys, living with his aunt, Isabella Denoon 64, in Gateshead[1]


1904 Obituary [2]

JOHN JAMESON was born in the City of London on 2nd October 1830.

He was educated at the City of London School and Inverness Academy, and entered business life in the mercantile firm of his uncle, Mr. A. Denoon, of London.

As a young man, and throughout his life, he was keenly interested in applied science, and devoted an originative mind to the study of many problems in chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering. He became one of the pioneers of the ammonia-soda process, working up London gas-liquor with a weekly output of about 4 tons of alkali and 3.5 tons of muriate of ammonia.

Later he turned his attention to the improvement of the air-engine, and his patent obtained in 1858 was made the basis of an elaborate and costly series of experiments. A large amount of time and money was spent in perfecting the invention, with the result that air-engines up to 40 horse-power were built, which did satisfactory work under the charge of the inventor and his partner Mr. Norman Cookson, and one or two workmen who had been with him from the time of his first experiments. Difficulties invariably arose when these engines were left in the charge of ordinary mechanics, and after six years spent in large practical experiments the invention was dropped, and the works at Tyneside were carried on for the construction of marine steam-engines.

The first twin-screw steamer which was built by Messrs. Charles Mitchell and Co. had its engines designed and built by the firm of John Jameson and Co., at the Close Engine Works, about 1865.

For many years, up to the time of his death, he practised as a consulting engineer in Newcastle.

In 1876 he was entrusted by the proprietors of the "Newcastle Daily Chronicle" with the design and installation of the engines, boilers, and general mechanical arrangements of their new printing plant, which was made the subject of his first Paper, "On Printing Machinery," contributed to the Proceedings in 1881 (page 511).

It was in this year, when electric glow-lamps had first come prominently before the public, that he invented a lamp in which the carbons were automatically renewed. The improvements of carbons of the ordinary incandescent lamp had made such advances, however, that his invention did not come into commercial use.

In 1883 the Jameson coking process for the recovery of by-products from the beehive form of oven was described by him in a Paper (Proceedings 1883, page 275). This process was worked on a large scale at the Felling Chemical Works, and at the collieries of Messrs. Bell Brothers, John Brown and Co., and the Weardale Iron and Coal Co., and at the Calumet Iron and Steel Works, Chicago.

His last communication to the Proceedings was a Paper on "Diagram Accounts for Engineering Works," which was read in 1897 (page 499). Among his many other inventions, recorded in between thirty and forty patents, that of an improved safety paper for bankers' cheques, etc., was the most successfully applied.

His death took place from pneumonia at Whitley Bay, Northumberland, on 10th July 1904, in his seventy-fourth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1881.


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