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British Industrial History

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Leonard Wilson Horton

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Leonard Wilson Horton (1875-1940)

presumably son of Enoch Horton


1940 Obituary [1]

LEONARD WILSON HORTON was associated with his father's firm, Messrs. Horton and Son, Ltd., Alma Works, Darlaston, during the whole of his professional career. He was born in 1875 and educated from 1883 to 1889 in private schools and at the Collegiate School, Edgbaston. On the termination of his five years' apprenticeship (with) Messrs. Horton, he was appointed assistant works manager, rising to be chief works manager in 1898. On vacating this post in 1903 he travelled extensively for the firm, which was established in 1825, and with which were associated the works (of) James Simpson and Sons, Ltd., and Enock Wilkes (both of Darlaston) until the outbreak of the Great War.

He then turned his attention to the reorganisation of the workshops for modern mass-production of nuts and bolts and drop forgings of all kinds. In the screwing shops he designed a simple burner (using Mond gas) for a muffle and hardening furnace. In the forging shops during the Great War, the fuel oil was of a poor grade, tar having to be mixed with it, and to overcome the difficulty of lighting the furnaces Mr. Horton introduced a system of steam heating pipes inside the 3-inch fuel oil main, making possible a more even flow of oil to the burners. He also fitted a spring-controlled needle valve for use in clearing obstructions in the pipes. A hot-thread rolling machine, principally for rail chair screws, that would automatically roll a tapered thread on the blank was designed and built by him. Mr. Horton also designed and patented a high-pressure burner that could be fitted with interchangeable nozzles to suit varying conditions.

In 1923 he retired from active participation in the nut and bolt trade, but continued his interest in mechanical engineering and was a director of Messrs. Manley and Regulus, Ltd., of Wolverhampton. He brought out and used an automatic device for fitting to the carburettors of cars to prevent the speed from exceeding the 30 m.p.h. limit in force in built-up areas.

He died on 19th February 1940, having been an Associate Member of the Institution since 1903.


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