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British Industrial History

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Thomas Hawthorn

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Thomas Hawthorn (1838-1880) of Black, Hawthorn and Co


1880 Obituary [1]

Mr. THOMAS HAWTHORN, of the firm of Black, Hawthorn, & Co., engineers and locomotive engine builders, Gateshead, was in August last killed by falling down a precipice at Seelisburg, Switzerland, whither he had gone for the benefit of his health.

Deceased was a son of the late Dr. Hawthorn of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and had attained his forty-second year. He served his apprenticeship at the Forth Street Engine Works, Newcastle-on-Tyne, with the Messrs. Stephenson, and was soon afterwards engaged in a responsible position on the extensive dock and harbour works of Marseilles.

On his return to England in 1866, Mr. Hawthorn entered into partnership with Mr. Black as engineers and locomotive builders at Gateshead, and since that date few firms have been better known in connection with the development of the locomotive engine.

Mr. Hawthorn made several notable improvements in the construction of colliery locomotives, and more recently he devoted much of his time and attention to the construction of a locomotive suited for tramway use. The first engine of the latter type built by Mr. Hawthorn was tried on the Newcastle tramway lines, and the results obtained were generally regarded as satisfactory. Deceased was a member of the Council of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, and was also in membership with several other scientific bodies.


1881 Obituary [2]

THOMAS HAWTHORN, eldest son of the late Dr. Hawthorn of Newcastle-on-Tyne, was born on 19th April 1838, and lost his life on 18th August 1880, by a fall from the Stusberg, between Seilisberg and Beckenried, Lake of Lucerne.

He was educated at Dr. Bruce's academy, and served his apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer with Messrs. Robert Stephenson & Co., Newcastle on-Tyne.

In 1861 he obtained the responsible position of assistant engineer at the docks and warehouses at Marseilles, which he held until 1865.

He then returned to the Tyne, and in conjunction with Mr. William Black established locomotive, marine, and stationary engine works at Gateshead, under the firm of Messrs. Black Hawthorn Co.

In 1867 they introduced an axle for locomotives having six or more coupled wheels, whereby lateral play is given to the trailing wheels, easing the motion round sharp curves, and diminishing the wear and tear of both engines and permanent way. This was favourably criticised at the time of its introduction, and has since been applied to a great number of main-line and shunting engines.

At the time of his decease Mr. Hawthorn was engaged upon a street tramway locomotive, which is now being perfected.

He became a Member of the Institution in 1880.


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Sources of Information

Category: Iron and Steel Institute]]