Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,165 pages of information and 245,632 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Sigismund Wilson

From Graces Guide

John Sigismund Wilson (1875-1955)

1915 Invented travel correction for anti-aircraft gun; the patent was suspended for reasons of secrecy.

1920 Wilson, J.S. and Dalby, W.E. made a claim and received an award for their invention of a Gun director[1]


1955 Obituary [2]

JOHN SIGISMUND WILSON, F.C.G.I., Hon. A.R.I.B.A. who died in London on the 17th March, 1955, was born in Cairo on the 15th October, 1875.

He was educated at St Paul’s School, and at the Central Technical College (now the City and Guilds (Engineering) College) from 1893 to 1896. In 1897 he joined the firm of Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, consulting engineers, designers of the Forth Bridge and the Aswan Dam. Mr Wilson, with Mr W. Gore, investigated the problems of heightening this dam by using india-rubber models and successfully overcame the theoretical objections. A subsequent Paper presented by them to the Institution earned the Authors the award of the George Stephenson Gold Medal in 1908.

During the 1914-18 war, Mr Wilson evolved the Wilson and Dalby director for anti-aircraft guns, and in the second World War he was engaged on the design and installation of anti-flood doors in the London tube railway network. He formed a partnership with Mr H. C. Booth (the inventor of the vacuum cleaner) and Mr C. W. Pettit, being largely concerned with structural steelwork for railway bridges and with the Piccadilly Tube railway.

Later, however, he practised on his own and then took Mr John Mason as his partner. When, in 1923, Waterloo Bridge was found to be unsafe, Mr Wilson became prominently involved in the controversy over its demolition, and supported the view that Rennie’s 1817 bridge should be underpinned, widened, and preserved. Although demolition was eventually commenced in 1934, Mr Wilson had come to be recognized as an authority on the preservation of old bridges and other structures; in recognition of his work he was elected an honorary Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

He was an active member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Newcomen Society, and of the Royal Institution, and a Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute, whose association of past students, the Old Centralians, elected him as their President in 1933.

Mr Wilson was elected Associate Member in 1903, and was transferred to the class of Members in 1927. He is survived by his widow, a son, and a daughter.


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