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British Industrial History

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John William Wainwright

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John William Wainwright (1861-1930)

1930 Obituary [1]

JOHN WILLIAM WAINWRIGHT had been a Member of the Institution since 1898.

He was born at Worcester in 1861 and served an apprenticeship from 1876 to 1882 at the Worcester locomotive works of the Great Western Railway and in the carriage and wagon department of the Midland Railway at Derby.

After further experience in the inspection department of the works drawing office he was appointed manager of the Erith works of the [Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Co|Maxim Nordenfelt Gun and Ammunition Company]] in 1890, where he converted the Maxim gun to use cordite instead of black powder. He also concentrated the three Maxim works at Erith.

In 1894 he was appointed assistant consulting engineer to the Patent Shaft and Axletree Company and later he became consulting engineer and was instrumental in reorganizing the works and plant of the company.

Mr. Wainwright then turned his attention to electric traction, joining first the British Thomson-Houston Company. He visited many large American works and later was occupied in the manufacture of electric tram-cars for which he took out a number of patents.

He was then for six years in private practice as a consulting engineer in Westminster until he accepted the offer of Messrs. Burmeister Wain to act as their London engineer.

In 1914 he went to India where he was engaged on irrigation work and the manufacture of munitions as superintendent of the Canal Foundry and Engineering works at Roorkee. This position he held until 1927, when he retired and left India.

He died on 21st December 1930.

Mr. Wainwright wrote articles on the manufacture of guns and ammunition and translated many technical papers from the French.

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