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William Jackson (1849-1915)

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William Jackson (1849-1915)

Invented the single-action rolling machine for production of tea [1]

1915 Obituary [2]

WILLIAM JACKSON was born at Keith Hall, Aberdeenshire, on 29th June 1849.

Having developed an early liking for engineering, he was apprenticed to Messrs. George Murray and Co., Banff, and later to Messrs. Hall, Russell and Co., of Aberdeen.

On the completion of his apprenticeship he went to Calcutta, and, later, to Assam, where he joined his brother, who was manager of the Scottish Assam Tea Co. Soon after, he became assistant to his brother, and subsequently had charge of the tea-house and the manufacture of tea at the central factory of the company's estate.

At that time – 1870 — the tea-leaf had to be rolled by hand, and there was no tea-drying machine in existence in the British Colonies. He saw at once the necessity for improvement, and before the lapse of many months he had invented a tea-rolling machine, which set at liberty the coolies for other work.

He then devoted his whole time and energy to inventing and improving machinery used in the manipulation of tea, and it is greatly due to his efforts that Assam and Ceylon were able to compete so successfully with China in the economical production of tea. His tea-driers are well known throughout the East, and are in use on most of the great tea estates.

After his retirement from active life in the East in 1886, he continued his engineering work in Aberdeen, and largely added to the noteworthy record of inventions with which his name is connected. His workshop at his residence was fitted up with all the latest engineering appliances, and many years ago he utilized electricity for lighting and power purposes long before it had reached its present development.

His death took place after a severe illness at his residence in Aberdeen, on 15th June 1915, at almost the age of sixty-six.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1889.

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