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British Industrial History

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Oswald Stevens Nock

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Oswald Stevens Nock (1905–1994), was a British railway signal engineer and senior manager at the Westinghouse company; he is well known for his publications on railway subjects, including over 100 books, as well as a large number of more technical works on locomotive performance.

Oswald Stevens Nock was born 21 January 1905 in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, the son of a bank employee, Samuel James Nock, and a schoolteacher Rose Amy née Stevens. In early childhood Nock's father became manager of a bank branch in Reading; O. S. Nock was subsequently educated at Marlborough House, and Reading School. After the family moved to Barrow in Furness in 1916 he became a boarder at Giggleswick School.

In 1921 he enrolled at the City and Guilds Engineering College, in London and obtained a degree in engineering in 1924, and joined the Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company in 1925.

Recession during the 1930s (see Great Depression in the United Kingdom) lead Nock to seek other forms of income, and after having taken a correspondence course in journalism, began to submit articles to magazines. His first submission was a technical paper on railways submitted to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

In 1932 he had his first works accepted for publication. Due to his moonlighting as a journalist, he published under pseudonyms including "C.K.S", "C.K. Stevens" or "Railway Engineer"

1937 Nock married Olivia Hattie née Ravenall (1914-1987)

After World War II Nock rose through the Westinghouse organisation to become chief brake draughtsman (1945), four years later chief draughtsman; during the British Rail modernisation plan (1955) Nock managed the expansion of the company's drawing office, and in 1957 became the company's chief mechanical engineer.

In 1969 Nock became president of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE).

After retiring in 1970 his output rose to five books per year, including a three volume work on 20th century British locomotives, and eight volumes on the railways of regions of the work. Nock authored more than 140 books and 1000 magazine articles.

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