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William Jackson (Died 1885)

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William Jackson (Died 1885)

1886 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM JACKSON began his career as an apprentice in the works of Messrs. Otway, Winnington and Co., mechanical engineers, where he remained for six years.

On the completion of his apprenticeship in 1852 he began a series of short engagements with various firms of mechanical engineers, seldom remaining more than a year or two in one employ, until, in 1858, he was appointed by the "West India Royal Steam-Packet Company" as Engineer afloat, on board S.S. "Conway," ss. "Tasmania," ss. "Oneida," S.S. "Douro," and Chief Engineer of ss. "Clyde" and ss. "Trent."

He retained this position until 1865, when he was engaged by Messrs. John Penn and Son, marine engineers, as Engineer afloat, in the service of the Khedive of Egypt, by whom he was made Chief Engineer of H.H.’s yacht "Fayoun" for two years. He was afterwards for a year in Messrs. Penn’s works at Greenwich.

In 1868 he undertook the situation of mechanical engineer at the extensive Cannock Chase Collieries, and this post he resigned a few months only before his death. Conscientious, in some respects almost to a fault in the matter of duty, he was an exceptionally hard worker, and the exigencies of collieries requiring new work and important repairs to be carried out week-ends and holidays, he was, during the last sixteen years of his life, incessantly engaged.

It is characteristic of the man that for a long period of years he never slept away from his house adjoining the works, and when suffering from fatal illness, partially paralysed and unable to move without great pain, he would insist on visiting the shops when any temporary return of strength enabled him to move without assistance. His attention to detail was equal to his capacity for work, and he brought to bear on colliery mechanics much of the nice and correct workmanship of large engineering works. To a great extent this close and almost microscopic attention to detail interfered with original work, but in underground haulage and other work connected with colliery engineering he displayed very considerable mechanical skill, his extreme nicety in studying detail often approaching originality, so much did he analyze conditions which in an ordinary way appeared unnecessary. With the same amount of time spent over a more ambitious field of invention he would probably have been a prominent man. It may be said that he sacrificed himself to a too close attention to minor details, and instead of subverting such knowledge, at a time when it was fairly perfected, to a more general sphere of usefulness, the habit became ultimately predominant. His sensitiveness of character, aggravated by disease of long standing, also contributed to his remaining in a position which, although an onerous and responsible one, did not afford him an opportunity of individualizing himself.

Mr. Jackson was elected an Associate Member on the 1st of March, 1881.

He died on the 22nd of March, 1885.

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