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William Henry Jaques

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William Henry Jaques (1848-1916)


1917 Obituary [1]

Captain WILLIAM HENRY JAQUES was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on 24th December 1848, being descended from an old Huguenot family, which early went to America.

Having been educated at schools in New Jersey, he entered the United States Naval Academy in 1863 as midshipman, and graduated in June 1867, wben he went immediately into active service. He was promoted Ensign in 1868, Master in 1870, and Lieutenant in 1871. During his active service in the Navy he served on board the "Constitution," "Marblehead," etc., and the monitors "Saugus" and "Manhattan." At various times he performed duties as Aide to the President, Secretary of the Navy, and Commandant of the New York Navy Yard.

From 1870 to 1874 he was assistant in the United States Coast Survey, and from 1874-78 assisted the New York Board of Education.

In 1881 be became Assistant Inspector of Ordnance; in 1883 Member and Secretary of the United States Gun Foundry Board; and in 1886 Secretary to the Senate Committee on Ordnance and Warships. Captain Jaques introduced into the United States the system of fluid compression and hydraulic forging of heavy masses of steel, and was the inventor of many improvements in the manufacture of heavy ordnance and armour, and was the leading exponent of the employment of nickel in steel. He was for some time associated with Captain John Ericsson in the development of submarine artillery.

In 1887 Captain Jaques resigned his commission in the United States Navy, and accepted a position with the Bethlehem Iron Co. (now the Bethlehem Steel Co.) to superintend the design, construction, and adaptation of machinery for the establishment there of ordnance and armour-plate works.

He continued as ordnance engineer until 1894, when he retired, and then became associated with Mr. Horace See, engineer and naval architect, in general engineering and consulting work, especially in connexion with ordnance material.

At the beginning of 1895, at the request of the Governor of New Jersey, he began the organization of a Naval Reserve for that State, and shortly afterwards was commissioned Captain. This command he held until January 1898, when loss of health compelled him to resign. The later developments of the Bethlehem Steel Works were in a great measure due to Captain Jaques, who became the recognized independent authority in the United States on the manufacture of guns and armour.

Captain Jaques was presented with the Whitworth Scholarship medal for his metallurgical work, and was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun for his services to Japan previous to the Chinese War.

In 1897 he undertook the development of submarine torpedo-boats, and accepted the presidency of the Holland Submarine Boat Co.; and during this period the mechanical control of submersion was perfected. He was the author of numerous books and monographs on heavy ordnance, armour, torpedoes, solar radiation, &c.

In the summer of 1916 he came to England to reside for a time with his family at Hadley Wood, near London, and was killed on the railway line near that station, by stepping out on the wrong side of the railway carriage, on 23rd November 1916, in his sixty-eighth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1888, and was a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Iron and Steel Institute, an Associate of the Institution of Naval Architects, and was a Member of the leading American Scientific Societies.


1917 Obituary [2]



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