Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Alfred Muir

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Alfred Muir (1840-1902) of William Muir and Co

son of William Muir

1902 Obituary [1]

ALFRED MUIR was the fourth son of the late William Muir, engineer, founder of the firm of Messrs. William Muir and Co., engineers' tool makers, Manchester.

He was born on 29th May 1840, at Pimlico, London, where his father was engaged at that time as manager for Mr. Bramah, the inventor of the celebrated Bramah lock and of the important improvements in the hydraulic press, which made it commercially useful.

Later on in June 1840, the late Sir Joseph Whitworth, then Mr. Joseph Whitworth, induced Mr. Muir, Senr., to join him at his works in Manchester, but in June 1842 he left Sir Joseph and started business on his own account in Manchester. Alfred Muir was therefore brought up in Manchester, and after completing his education at the Chester College, he served his time in his father's works.

Then, to gain experience, he worked for some time as a journeyman mechanic at Messrs. Penns' Marine Engineering Works, Greenwich. On his leaving that firm, he was appointed manager of his father's works, and when the latter retired from the business, he succeeded him, and eventually, on its being converted into a private company, he was appointed Chairman and Managing Director, which position he held at the time of his death.

He took great pride in turning out work only the best of its kind, both in finish and accuracy of workmanship, and so continued the high reputation that the firm's tools had acquired for such qualities. He also brought out several clever inventions, notably improvements in cutters for milling, in couplings for drilling and milling machines, and in capstan slide-rests for lathes.

He was lately selected by the War Office as a Member of the Screw Committee appointed by them to make experiments and report on a Standard Screw that should be adopted by the country, when his special experience was, and if he had been spared, would have been, of the greatest value.

He took no prominent part in politics or municipal work, but devoted himself unremittingly to business, to which he was much attached, and he died suddenly on 10th May 1902, in his sixty-second year, at Harrogate, where he was staying for the benefit of his health, after returning from Egypt, where he had been for three months for the same purpose, but had returned with no improvement in his condition.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1873; and was also a Member of the Iron and Steel Institute.

1902 Obituary [2]

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