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British Industrial History

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Thomas Whitehead Hawkins

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Thomas Whitehead Hawkins (1859-1938)

1938 Obituary [1]

THOMAS WHITEHEAD HAWKINS had an expert knowledge of textile machinery and was well known in the Yorkshire woollen trade. He was born in Rochdale in 1859 and received his training with Messrs. Thomas Robinson and Son, makers of woodworking machinery.

In 1881 he was engaged as a draughtsman by Messrs. J. and W. McNaught, textile machinery manufacturers of St. George's Foundry, Rochdale; his association with this firm continued for nearly forty years. He was promoted to be head draughtsman in 1883 and assistant works manager in 1894. He travelled very widely throughout Europe in the firm's interests, and in 1900 he was appointed general superintendent. Subsequently he invented new types of wool-washing and wool-drying machinery and took out many patents for these machines in England, Belgium, and America.

He was also responsible for the design of many of the large stationary steam engines installed by the firm for driving Lancashire cotton mills. In 1919 he joined Messrs. Hughes and Lancaster, Ltd., Acrefair, Wrexham, as general manager, and was appointed a director in 1920. He continued his work in developing wool-scouring and wool-drying machinery, taking out further original patents which were embodied in the machines manufactured by his firm. In 1930 he retired and lived at Rhos on Sea, North Wales, where his death occurred on 14th March 1938.

He had been a Member of the Institution since 1905.

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