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British Industrial History

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Oscar Harmer

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Oscar Harmer (1849-1939)


1939 Obituary [1]

"OSCAR HARMER was an engineer whose work was chiefly connected with the development of machine tools.

Born in 1849, he was nearly ninety years old when he died on 11th October 1939. He was educated at the Public School, Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.A., and he spent the early part of his career in the United States.

He served his apprenticeship from 1865 to 1871 in the works of the Newburgh Engine Co, and was then engaged by the Putnam Machine Tool Co, Fitchburg, first in the drawing office and then as assistant superintendent in the machine shop. He worked here for about two years, and after he had spent some time on the building of platen presses, lathes, drilling and planing machines, for two other firms, he returned to this company as contractor. On leaving, he worked for various engineering concerns, and it was while he was on the staff of the Capewell Horse-Nail Co that he came to England as manager of their factory at Millwall Docks, London.

Subsequently he was appointed to the staff of Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox, Ltd., and it was during the period he was in charge of this company's engineering works that he designed a multiple-spindle automatic chucking machine for the production of cap nuts or covers for hand holes in boilers. In 1897 he joined the firm of Alfred Herbert, Ltd., Coventry, on the invitation of Sir Alfred Herbert, K.B.E., M.I.Mech.E. Mr. Harmer undertook the building of a new foundry at Edgwick soon after he joined the firm, and he later became a director of the company. He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1894."


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Sources of Information

  1. 1939 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries