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Charles George Major

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Charles George Major (1851-1917) of Smith, Major and Stevens

With Stevens patented a hydraulically-operated hoist[1]

1917 Obituary [2]

CHARLES GEORGE MAJOR was born at Basingstoke on 2nd May 1851.

After attending the British School in his native town, he was apprenticed for six years to Mr. J. B. Soper, general engineer, of Basingstoke, whose firm later changed its name to P. and W. Hobbs, Basingstoke Iron Works.

In 1870 he went as draughtsman to Henley's Telegraph Works, North Woolwich, and two years later became leading draughtsman, acting as assistant manager of the wire-rolling mill department. In this connexion he superintended the erection of rolling-mill and Siemens-Martin steel works, and the construction of cable-laying plant for several cable ships.

In 1874 he went to Messrs. R. Warner and Co., hydraulic engineers, of Walton-on-the-Naze, to organize their first drawing office, and in 1876 was appointed works manager.

In the following year he became manager for Messrs. Withinshaw and Co., rolling mill and colliery engineers, of Birmingham, and returned to London in 1878, when he took up the post of manager to Messrs. Archibald Smith and Co., hydraulic and general engineers, of Leicester Square, London. Two years later a new factory was built at Battersea to meet the expansion of the business, and the firm's name was altered to Archibald Smith and Stevens.

In 1889 he became a partner, and was senior partner from 1904.

In 1909, owing to further expansion of the business, it was decided to convert it into a private limited company under the name of Smith, Major and Stevens, Ltd., with Mr. Major as chairman, and to remove the works to Northampton, where works and offices were built to his plans.

From the time he joined the firm he devoted his energies entirely to the development of lift and hoist design and manufacture, both hydraulic and electric, and he was the inventor of a great number of improvements in this class of machinery. In the early days of hydraulic lifts he invented a, form of the balance cylinder with which the name of the late Mr. Ellington is more generally associated. Both men were working on the problem and arrived at almost identical solutions independently. He also devoted much time to the evolution of safety devices for lifts; and developed a large number of types of electric locks for lift-well doors.

His death took place at Leamington after a short illness, on 15th February 1917, in his sixty-sixth year.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1906.

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