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British Industrial History

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John William Willans

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John William Willans (c1843-1895)

1872 Patent to Stanhope Baynes Smith, of Birmingham, in the county of Warwick, Electro Metallurgist, and John William Willans, of Middlesbrough, in the county of York, Engineer, for the invention of "improvements in the process of, and apparatus for, smelting iron ores and other ores, and reheating iron aud other metals, parts of which improvements may also be applied to other purposes."[1]



1895 Obituary [2]

JOHN WILLIAM WILLANS died at the Westminster Palace Hotel, London, on March 7, 1895, at the age of fifty-two years.

He was born at Leeds, and received his training as a mechanical engineer at the works of Messrs. Kitson & Company. On the termination of his articles he removed to Middlesbrough, where he held important positions at the works of Messrs. Cochrane, Grove, & Company, and Messrs. Hopkins, Gilkes, & Company, after which he commenced business as a general engineer and contractor in Manchester.

The name of Mr. Willans was closely identified with the electrical railways of this country, in which branch of engineering he had a wide and varied experience, his latest contract being the Liverpool Electric Overhead Railway.

He also originated and contracted for the construction of the Great Northern Extension Railway from Finsbury Park to the City, and a short time before his death patented an electric motor for dealing with the traffic on that line.

In 1894 he acquired Dolforgan Estate, Kerry, Montgomeryshire, where he resided. At the time of his death he was the selected candidate for the representation of the Montgomery Boroughs, and had been nominated as sheriff for the county.

Mr. Willans was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1878.


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