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British Industrial History

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William Armitage Brown

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William Armitage Brown (1836-1888)

1889 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM ARMITAGE BROWN was born at Plymouth on the 8th of August, 1836.

His father was a surgeon, and young Brown studied for a few years with the intention of following the same profession, passing some examination for the purpose. He, however, abandoned the idea, and became pupil and apprentice to Mr. J. E. Hodgkin, of Suffolk Works, Birmingham, in January 1855.

In 1858, Mr. Hodgkin retired from business, and Messrs. Charles and Walter May, and George Mountain became his successors, with whom Mr. Brown went through the ordinary routine of the shops and drawing-office. After this he spent some time in the London office as draughtsman.

Thence, in 1860, he went to Pernambuco, Brazil, for Mr. (now Sir) Charles Hutton Gregory, and was engaged on bridgework for the Recife and Sao Francisco Railway Company.

Mr. Brown spent nearly two years in Brazil, and on his return to England, he in 1862 entered the service of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway under Mr. William Mills, the Engineer to the Company. Mr. Brown served first as draughtsman, and subsequently as Chief Office Assistant. He continued in that position until the early part of 1870, when he was appointed Inspecting Engineer for the permanent-way materials for the same line, which post he held until his death.

In 1863 Mr. Brown took out a patent for a train-speed indicator, and in the same year he, conjointly with the late Mr. Richard Lionel Jones, patented a single-handed signal-lamp. He was engaged on a patent for steel sleepers at the time of his death, which occurred on the 28th of August, 1888.

Mr. Brown was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 3rd of February, 1874, and was transferred to Member on the 15th of December, 1885.

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