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British Industrial History

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William Walker

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William Walker (1830-1894), of Kaliemaas, Palace Road, West Dulwich, London, S.E (1880)

1878 Joined I Mech E

1894 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM WALKER was born at Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, on 14th November 1830.

He served his apprenticeship of seven years at the engine works of the Thornley Colliery; and afterwards worked at the locomotive works of the North Eastern Railway, Bank Top, Darlington, and for a year at the works of Messrs. Fossick and Hackworth, Stockton-on-Tees.

In 1853 he went to Messrs. Thomas Richardson and Son, Hartlepool, and was with them for three years, during two of which he was one of their leading hands, and went to sea as engineer in charge of the first, second, and third steamers built by them.

In 1856 while with their third steamer he accepted an engagement with the Borneo Co. Afterwards he was appointed superintendent engineer to the Netherlands India (Java) Mail Co., with whom he remained ten years until the expiration of their mail contract in 1869, continuing afterwards with their successors till 1873 as sole manager of their works at Sourabaya, Java. While in Java he designed and erected for the Dutch government an iron light-house in the Madura Straits.

Since 1873 he imported on his own account sugar-making and other machinery into Java and other sugar-growing countries; and also designed and superintended the arrangement and construction of many of the most important sugar factories now existing in Java and elsewhere.

He was one of the pioneers of economical working in the manufacture of sugar, by the improvement of cane-crushing mills with the object of extracting every possible drop of juice from the sugar cane, and by the utilization of exhaust steam for evaporative purposes in modern appliances, such as the triple and quadruple "effet," as opposed to the open-pan method of evaporation, and by the introduction wherever possible of labour-saving machinery in the manipulation of the sugar-cane products. He was also largely interested in machinery for treating coffee, in which he introduced many improvements, and also for ice-making.

In 1878 he received a gold medal from the third Indian Agricultural Congress in appreciation of his services.

His death, which resulted from injuries received through a fall from his horse on 9th April 1894, took place at his residence at West Dulwich, London, on 29th April, at the age of sixty-three.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1878; and was also a member from 1866 of the Nederlands Koninklijk Instituut van Ingenieurs.

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