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British Industrial History

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Howard Butters

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Howard Butters (1877/1876-1916) of Butters, Hale and Co

1911 Living at Tudor House, West Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth: Howard Butters (age 33 born Banbury), Mechanical Engineer, Managing Director. With his wife Janette Paton and four children.[1]

1916 Obituary [2]

HOWARD BUTTERS was born at Banbury, Oxon, on 30th August 1877.

His early education was received at Stranraer School, Bournemouth, and the Camberwell Grammar School.

Having an inclination towards engineering, he studied during 1892-93 at the Goldsmiths' College, New Cross, and at the age of sixteen he was apprenticed for four years to Messrs. Woodhouse and Mitchell, engineers, of Brighouse, Yorkshire. At the end of the term in 1897 he stayed with the firm as draughtsman until 1899, when he became chief engine draughtsman at the Low Moor Iron Works. While in this position he brought out a new valve for large engines, but owing to breakdowns of health he was unable to pursue the matter further, and, through consumption of the lungs, went to New Zealand, where he regained his health.

He developed an engineering business, chiefly connected with fencing, sawmills, and the timber traffic, and invented a form of fencing for large areas, which was cheap, effectual, and had a large sale in New Zealand and Australia.

In conjunction with Mr. G. R. Hale he founded in 1906 the firm of Butters, Hale and Co., of Napier, and he designed special machinery for manufacturing this fencing.

In 1909 he started the Northern Timber Co. of New Zealand, and by constructing a railway across a swamp and introducing improvements in sawing machinery he made this large area of timber accessible on a commercial scale for European investment.

Subsequently, as managing director of the May Morn Company, he was engaged in developing a much larger timber property, and introduced, by arrangement with Mr. Louis Brennan, a gyroscope mono-rail system for the whole railway which was to open up the estate.

Owing to anxiety with regard to closing down the companies on the outbreak of the War, his health broke down and he returned to England. Consumption had, however, taken too strong a hold on him, and his death took place at Chagford, near Exeter, on 24th April 1916, in his thirty-ninth year.

He was elected a Member of this Institution in 1910; he had previously been a Graduate from 1899 till 1902, when his Graduateship lapsed under the Rules.

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