Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Crichton

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William Crichton of Wm. Crichton and Co (Finland), (29 November 1827 – 10 April 1889) was a Scottish engineer and shipbuilder who spent most of his career in Turku, located in the Grand Duchy of Finland.

Crichton was born in Leith, the son of George Crichton, a shipowner. After working at Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Co, he moved to Shotts Iron Co where his brother Edward worked. When this works closed, Crichton went to Robert Napier and Sons as a draughtsman.

In 1850 at the age of 23 Crichton moved to Turku to lead a steam engine construction project at Cowie and Eriksson, a local engineering company. After two years, he moved to Helsinki to work for Fiskars, but because of the Crimean War he was arrested due to his nationality and transferred to Saint Petersburg. He was soon released with help from family connections and he remained working for Izhorsk Works for eight years.

In 1862, Crichton returned to Turku after receiving an offer to buy half of Cowie & Eriksson Company. The company was renamed W:m Crichton & C:o and under Crichton's leadership it developed into the largest company in Turku. The company built predominantly ships and steam engines and its main customer was the Imperial Russian Navy.

Crichton led the company until his death in 1889. He was survived by twelve children who soon sold the company to investors. Crichton's name remained in use until 1965.

For much more information, see Wikipedia entry.


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