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British Industrial History

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William Callan

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William Callan (1860-1906)


1906 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM CALLAN was born at Hulme, Manchester, on 26th January 1860.

In 1873 he was apprenticed to Messrs. Manlove, Alliott and Co., of Nottingham, his father having removed from Hulme to take up a responsible position in the boiler-making department of that firm.

On the completion of his term in 1880 he worked in the drawing office for two years, and then entered the service of the Haslam Foundry and Engineering Co., of Derby, which was then busily engaged in the manufacture of refrigerating machinery used for freezing and transporting meat in a frozen state to this country.

Mr. Callan was appointed by them refrigerating engineer to the SS. "British King," and made a voyage to New Zealand and back. This vessel was one of the earliest steamships engaged in the New Zealand frozen-meat trade.

On his return he was largely engaged in supervising the erection of refrigerating machinery both on board ship and on shore, and in 1886 received the appointment of superintendent engineer to the River Plate Fresh Meat Co., in whose service he remained up to the time of his death.

He had unique experience in refrigerating machinery, and also in plant required for dealing with animal by-products, and he was to a large extent responsible for carrying out the numerous enlargements and improvements at the works of his company at Campana, South America. He also designed and controlled the construction of numerous cold-storage depots in this country, and was responsible for the erection and satisfactory working of many of the plants employed in carrying frozen and chilled meat from abroad.

In 1900 the first successful consignment of chilled beef was landed at Liverpool under his direct supervision, previous attempts to carry the meat in any but a frozen state having ended in disaster.

His death took place in Nottingham on 22nd June 1906, in his forty-seventh year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1889.


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