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British Industrial History

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Marcus Henry Hodges

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Marcus Henry Hodges (1860-1938) of Hodges Brothers and Marcus H. Hodges and Sons (Engineers)

1860 Born at Exeter the son of Samuel Hodges, an Engine driver, and his wife Ann Smith

1871 Living at 22 Little Silver, Exeter: Samuel Hodges (age 48 born Gloucester), Engine Driver. With his wife Ann Hodges (age 49 born Gloucester) and their three children; Louisa Hodges (age 80 born Bristol), Sewing Machinist; Marcus H. Hodges (age 10 born Exeter); and Frederic W. Hodges (age 9 born Exeter).[1]

1891 Living at 55 Oxford Street, Exeter: Marcus Henry Hodges (age 36 born Exeter), Practical Engineer, Millwright and Machinist. With his wife Clara Jane Hodges (age 29 born Stoke Gifford) and their three daughters; Minnie Maria Hodges (age 4 born Exeter); Annie Louisa Hodges (age 2 born Exeter); Selina Hodges (age 2 months born Exeter).[2]

1901 Living at 16 Fortescue Road, Exeter. With his wife and seven children.[3]

1911 Living 2 Lothian Villa, Princes Square, St Thomas, Exeter: Marcus Henry Hodges (age 50 born Exeter St. Davids), General Mechanical Engineer and an Employer. With his wife Clara Jane Hodges (age 49 born Stoke Gifford) and their eight children; Minnie Maria Hodges (age 24 born Exeter, St. Sidwell), Photographic Chemist; Annie Louisa Hodges (age 22 born Exeter, St. Sidwell), Dressmaker; Lilian Selina Hodges (age 20 born Exeter, St. Thomas), Photographic Artist; Agnes May Hodges (age 18 born Exeter, St. Thomas); William Samuel Henry Hodges (age 14 born Exeter, St. Thomas); Clara Winifred Hodges (age 12 born Exeter, St. Thomas); Eva Bertha Hodges (age 10 born Exeter, St. Thomas); and Arthur John Marcus Hodges (age 6 born Exeter, St. Thomas). [4]

1938 July 28th Died at Bristol

1938 Obituary[5]

Member of Well-known Exeter Firm.

The death at the age of 78 of Mr. Marcus Henry Hodges, of Saltford, Bristol, on Thursday, whose funeral took place on Tuesday at St. Thomas Parish Church, Exeter, recalls the founding of a well-known West-country engineering firm in Exeter, whose products are now known throughout the country and farther afield, and the invention of a number of mechanical devices.

Mr. Hodges was the son of Mr. Samuel Hodges, who was on the Bristol and Exeter Railway. He served his apprenticeship at the Bristol and Exeter works at Temple Mead and later joined the engineering firm of J. H. Hodges and Co., owned by his at uncle Bristol for extended experience. During this time he assisted in the construction of the first paper bag-making machine to be used in this country.

At the age of 25 became an engineer on a trading vessel and was with several ships.

After the wreck of the s.s. Aregon on the island of Anticosta, however, he returned to a shore berth with the late Mr. Robert Blackburn, of Trew's Weir Paper Mills, Exeter.

In 1886, with his brother, he started an engineering business in Bonhay-road, Exeter, but had the misfortune to incur a complete loss of premises and machinery through fire which started in next door premises. The business was removed to the City Basin, and partnership of the brothers was dissolved and was carried on by Mr. M. H. Hodges.

In 1908 he secured patents on two of his inventions, the Victor valve facing machine and cylinder boring machine, since when several have been supplied to all parts of the world.

During the war he patented a tool in connection with shell making, supplying to English, Australian and Canadian Governments.

He designed new works in Haven-road, and these were completed in 1928. On relinquishing active interest in the business, he converted it into a private limited company under the title of Marcus H. Hodges and Sons (Engineers), Ltd., and this is being carried on under the direction of his two sons, Messrs. W. S. H. Hodges and A. J. M. Hodges.

Mr. M. H. Hodges was member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers since 1896, and was a "commodore" member of the Western branch. was also a member of the Old Steam Engine Makers' Society, joining in 1880.

He had lived in retirement at Saltford, Bristol, for the last five years.

1938 Obituary [6]

MARCUS HENRY HODGES was well known in the west of England as the founder of an engineering firm in Exeter and as the inventor of several improvements in machine tools.

He was born in 1860 and served his apprenticeship from 1875 to 1880 in the general engineering works of Messrs. J. H. Hodges and Company, of Bristol, owned by his uncle, and assisted in constructing the first paper-bag making machine in the country.

He then went to sea as third engineer in vessels of the Great Western Steam Ship Company, of Bristol, and of Messrs. Holman and Company, of London, and was shipwrecked in S.S. Aregon off Anticosti Island.

In 1883 he became engineer to Mr. R. Blackburn, at Trew's Weir Paper Mills, Exeter, and three years later he went into partnership with his brother and started an engineering business in Bonhay Road, Exeter (Hodges Brothers).

A disastrous fire, spreading from the premises of an adjoining firm, caused the removal of the works to City Basin. In 1895 the partnership was dissolved, and Mr. M. H. Hodges became sole proprietor. The business was reconstituted as a limited liability company in 1928, under the style Marcus H. Hodges (Engineers), Ltd., and Mr. Hodges then relinquished active interest in the firm. His most important inventions included a valve-facing machine and a cylinder-boring machine, both patented in 1908, and during the War he patented an adjustable tap for tapping fuse holes in shells, which was adopted by the British, Australian, and Canadian Governments.

During his retirement he lived at Saltford, Bristol, where his death occurred on 29th July 1938. He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1896.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1871 Census
  2. 1891 Census
  3. 1901 Census
  4. 1911 Census
  5. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 5 August 1938
  6. 1938 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries