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John McMillan (1848-1888)

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John McMillan (1848-1888), shipbuilder of Archibald McMillan and Sons, Rockville, Dumbarton.

Born 1848, third son of John McMillan, Senior, grandson of the founder of shipbuilders

1877 won a prize in the exhibition of ship models held at the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, Fishmongers' Hall. He exhibited Coriolanus. He won a gold medal and the freedom of the City of London.

1881. He won first prize again for his ship models.

He was a member of the Institute of Naval Architects.

Died 1888 aged 40. [1]

1889 Obituary [2]

JOHN M'MILLAN, one of the best known shipbuilders on the Clyde, died at Mentone, on Sunday, the 2nd December, 1888, in the forty-first year of his age.

Mr. McMillan was born at Dumbarton, where his firm have for many years carried on the shipbuilding industry successfully, in the year 1848. At an early age he began to take an active part in the administration of the works. He travelled much abroad, and was very successful in extending the business connections of the firm. In business he was prompt, methodical, and animated by strict integrity; and thus connections, once formed, were not readily broken. He was, moreover, very energetic, and quick in his perceptive faculties. He was a member of the Institution of Naval Architects, and although he never read any papers there, he took great interest in its deliberations.

In 1877, at a competitive exhibition of ships' models in the Fishmongers' Hall, London, under the auspices of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, a model which he designed and exhibited of a full-rigged sailing ship carried off the gold medal. Nor was the model in question a mere ideal one, for the Coriolanus was built by the firm on nearly the same lines, and proved one of the fastest sailing vessels afloat.

In 1882 the same guild promoted another competitive exhibition, this time of an international character. The Messrs. M'Millan exhibited amongst other models those of the Imberhorne and Falconhurst, then building by them, and again carried off the gold medal. Mr. M'Millan shortly afterwards had the honour conferred upon him of being admitted a member of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. In other exhibitions, too, such as those of London, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, the models of Mr. M'Millan have been very much admired by competent judges.

The deceased was amongst the first to advocate and apply the principle of water ballast to sailing ships by means of double bottoms, and many vessels built at the works of his firm have had this special feature in all its thoroughness. When, some years ago, the question of unsinkable ships was agitating the minds of naval architects more than it is doing to-day, Mr. M‘Millan exhibited in London the model of an unsinkable vessels adapted for the transatlantic trade, which attracted much attention at the time. The vessel was of great size, and the designer claimed for her a high rate of speed, nearly absolute safety for voyagers and cargo, and large money returns to the owners.

Mr. M'Millan, about fifteen years ago, had a bad attack of rheumatic fever, and the evil effects of that malady were never completely eradicated from his system. In the spring of the year 1888 he was again attacked by rheumatic fever, accompanied by weakness of the heart's action, which greatly prostrated him, and for some time his life hung upon a slender thread. By-and-by, however, he rallied somewhat, and in October 1888 he was so far recovered as to be able to travel to Mentone, where it was hoped that through the influence of a more genial climate and complete rest he might once more be restored to his previous state of health. This hope was doomed to disappointment.

Mr. M'Millan joined the Institute in 1886.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • McMillan family tree of