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John Macintosh Mackay Munro

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John Macintosh Mackay Munro (c1853-1825) of Anderson and Munro


1922 M.I.E.E., Assoc.M.Inst.C.E., F.R.S.E., Consulting Engineer (Electricity Generation and Distribution,. Water Power Development, and Electric Lighting), I I, Randolph Place, Edinburgh. T. A.: "Light, Edinburgh." T. N.: Central (Edinburgh) 356. b. 1853; s. of Donald Munro; m. 1876. Ed. Glasgow University, Western Institution, Andersonian College. Served seven years' apprenticeship to mechanical engineering and pattern-making. Three years accounting and drawing office. Partner and Technical Manager to Anderson and Munro, electrical engineers, 1878-1909; was Managing Director of Holland House Electric Manufacturing Co., Ltd. Consulting Engineer to Kelvinside Electricity Supply Co., G. and S.W. Railway Co.; Clyde Trust (for harbour lighting), Norwegian Water Power Syndicate, and for power stations for burghs, county councils, and other authorities, and for the lighting of 26 mansion houses, factories and public buildings, also for the Carstairs Electric Railway, 1888, Glasgow fire alarm system, and numerous other undertakings chiefly for power, lighting and fuel economy. Was patentee of many electric appliances which are now in common use. Monthly articles in the technical press. War Services.—Joined Royal Air Force and was Officer in charge A.I.D., Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Groups, 1917-19.



1926 Obituary [1]

JOHN MACINTOSH MACKAY MUNRO died at the age of 72 on the 29th December, 1925, at Edinburgh.

He was educated at the Glasgow Academy and the Andersonian College.

After early experience in telegraph work he made the instruments and erected the first practical telephone line in Glasgow in 1877. In the following year he invented and put on the market several forms of incandescent metal-filament lamps. Some of these were described in Le Monde de la Science of that year and in the English Mechanic.

On the 1st May, 1880, he issued circulars relative to the formation of a telephone exchange in Glasgow, the proposed annual rental for subscribers being £5. By 1880 the Kelvin-street works of Messrs. Anderson and Munro were lit by Serrin lamps, and in that year also the firm installed arc lamps in, and in front of, the offices of the Glasgow Herald. This was described in that paper as the first application of electricity to street lighting in Glasgow.

Early in 1881 Mr. Joseph Swan utilized Mr. Munro's dynamos to show Sir William Thomson and others his new carbon glow lamps, and in that year installations were fitted by the firm in factories at Selkirk and Hawick. Sir William's own house at the University was wired about this date and was later referred to by Lord Kelvin as "the first private residence on this planet to have electric light as the normal and sole illuminant." Among his patents in 1882 were lever switches, an integrating wattmeter and a gravity voltmeter and ammeter. These were followed by numerous others relating to dynamo windings, etc.

In 1883 he invented and patented concentric wiring and applied this system to the wiring of the S.S. "Cavalier." He was soon busily engaged with water-power and gas-engine electrical installations all over the country. The Glasgow fire-alarm system was designed and fitted by his firm in 1885.

In 1888 he designed and equipped the electric railway at Carstairs; this was for many years the only example of electric traction in Scotland.

In 1892 Mr. Munro, who was then a recognized authority on hydro-electric work, was called to Norway to survey the Glommen and the Drammen rivers for the Christiania power scheme. He was responsible for much of the pioneer town-lighting in Scotland and was consulting engineer to the Kelvinside Electricity Co., the towns of Irvine, Lanark, Skelmorlie, Cambuslang, Galashiels, Bo'ness, etc., and designed and erected supply stations for the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Co., and the Clyde Trust and other public bodies. His design for the station at Kelvinside set for some years a new fashion in the lay-out of supply stations.

In 1910 he severed his connection with the firm of Anderson and Munro and devoted himself entirely to his consulting work. During the war he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps and was officer in charge of the Portsmouth Group for the construction of seaplanes and flying boats. Mr. Munro was the author of numerous technical articles and papers. Being deeply interested in the complete reconciliation of science and theology he published two books "Spiritual Dynamics" and "The Divine Mechanism," both urging the application of a natural basis to religion.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1890 and was one of the founders of the Glasgow Local Section (now Scottish Centre), the chair of which he occupied in 1905.


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